The most wonderful time of the year.
Or, is it?
It’s that time of year. And, where ever you look, everyone seems to be gearing up for the fun and festivities of Christmas. Lots of hustle and bustle, excitement and laughter, carols playing on the radio, offers of cookies and chocolates everywhere you go. There are those people in a complete tizzy because they haven’t even thought about the holidays. It seems like the whole world is consumed with merry making, decorating, and shopping. Everywhere you look, people are oozing with all that the holidays have to offer.
However, for some, the holidays can be a sad reminder of a past, or recent, loss. It can make those who are grieving even more painfully aware of the emptiness they feel in their hearts. Others, who are waiting for time to ease their pain of loss, may find their grief only increases with each passing year. Many just avoid. They isolate, waiting for it all to be over. They feel that they’d just rather be alone. Or, maybe your someone who is just trying to stumble through it all without breaking down and losing it in public. For most people, the first holiday season after their loss is the most painful, but that’s not true for everyone.
How can you survive and come through the holiday experience in one piece?
One of the most important things you can do, is be kind to yourself. Give yourself permission to feel whatever you are feeling. And, don’t take on more than you can handle. You don’t have to stay busy. You may find that you have even less energy now than at other times of the year. You don’t have to say, “yes,” or, “no,” and you don’t have to put on a happy face. You just need to decide what is important for you. Remember that Christmas is a time for giving, so why not give to yourself? Always remember that what your feeling is the normal and natural reaction to loss.
Ask for help.
This can be hard after a loss, but it is important for you to let others know what you need. Don’t be afraid to mention your loved one by name. Just know that some people may be uncomfortable talking with you about them. So, let them know that you would like to share your memories and feelings with someone you trust. You’d love it if someone could just listen, as you want to talk about what you are going through- happy and sad.
Change up family traditions.
Some people prefer to alter their traditions slightly so that you can still have the traditions to a certain extent, but they are altered enough to note a change because of the absence. Maybe you could switch houses for dinner or, do something completely different and go out to eat. Perhaps, open presents on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas morning. Share fond memories, even though they are not there physically, you can still include the deceased in the celebration, honoring their memory in a way that has meaning to you.
Every loss is unique.
Every relationship is unique. We all grieve differently, even within, the same family. Your way of grieving may not be the same as your mother’s or brother’s, and this year may be different form last year. Bottom line, it’s all about doing what feels right for you. Your grief is important.
Often the anticipation over how hard something is going to be is worse than the actual event. Think about any situations that might be emotionally tough for you, and create a plan that will get you through it. Be patient with yourself as you may not always understand your emotions and you need to do whatever gets you through the day. Drive yourself to any holiday functions. Knowing that you can easily leave at any time can help you to enjoy yourself much more than you would if, you felt stuck.
Dump what you don’t love doing.
Grief usually comes in waves, and the holidays may heighten any feelings. It’s okay to avoid some circumstances that you don’t feel ready to handle, but don’t isolate yourself. You may feel like having some solitude, but there has to be balance, even if you have to force yourself.
One way you can honor a loss is to do something in the loved one’s name. Make cash donations to a favorite charity, give food, clothes, or blankets to homeless shelters. Toys or donations to animal shelters, in memory of a pet. Choose something that is meaningful either to you or the one you’ve lost.
Look for those special moments.
As difficult as it may seem, you will survive the holidays in one piece. You may not really enjoy the holidays ~ and you don’t have to pretend, either. Remind yourself that what you are feeling is natural and real. The holidays may unfold into small joyful moments, so, give yourself permission to focus on how good those moments feel, no matter how small, and be grateful.
If you are dreading the upcoming holidays due to losses that you’ve experienced, please know that you don’t have to do it alone. You don’t have to let your emotional suffering continue. You can take Grief Recovery Action so you not only likely to face the holidays in a better way, you can also, gain the tools to take back your happiness.
If you need help, please reach out and book a free 30-minute chat, lets get to know each other and see if you are ready to take action to recover from the emotional pain of loss.
Your grief path is yours alone, and no one else can walk it, and no one else can understand it.
Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you are bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralysed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as bird wings.