If you’ve come to read this blog, I first want you to know that you are not alone. Holidays are often difficult for a multitude of reasons including financial stress, the positive stresses surrounding celebrations and more. Holidays can feel even more complicated when we are dealing with feelings of emptiness and sadness. The storefront windows of businesses, small and large, encourage us to join in the holiday spirit, but for some these sights, sounds and smells that are meant to encourage celebration can trigger memories of loss.
While there is not a one size fits all solution for holiday grief, there are various coping skills that you can use to try to cope through the days to come. While this is not an exhaustive list, I hope that it brings you comfort in knowing that you can try things to help getting through this holiday season a bit better.
- Everyone grieves differently: even those living in the same home, dealing with the same loss! Give yourself (and those in your family) grace this holiday season. Understand that something that can make you laugh or cry may not make others laugh or cry. That is okay! When you notice a difference between you and someone else, don’t be afraid to express your feelings. Those who care about you will listen – without judgement.
- Get rid of the stress you can: holidays have a habit of bring forth a lot of stress, so don’t feel that you need to overextend yourself. If you can cross off an item on your to-do-list, I encourage you to try. The less that you have on your plate, often the better people say they feel!
- Do what YOU need: while holidays are often a time of gathering, tune into yourself to figure out what your true needs are. Do you want to be with supportive and caring people? Is being around your family and friends too much this year? Increasing connection to others and grieving together is often helpful, but if it complicates what is already on your plate, know that you can step away.
- Incorporate your loved one into this holiday season: share what you think their new year’s resolution would have been. Guess about the presents they would have given you and share this with others. Including those we love, whether they are here with us physically or not, helps to affirm out need to keep that special person a part of our lives.
Even though this holiday season may be a difficult one rest assured that the pain you feel from grief is evidence to show that you gave and received much love from the person that you lost. Grief is a result of having loved and it is time to love yourself. Take care of you, remember the person that you lost and reach out to us if you are in need of support. We are always here for you.