Let’s talk about Grief, the Holidays and how to get through them with a Happy face.
For some people, it will be hard enough to get up and make it through each day. Add on the feelings of loneliness, anxiety, anger and depression. You would love to take a break from all these over the holidays, but Grief does not take Holiday breaks.
An important first step is to recognize that the holidays will be tough, especially if it’s the first one. Be realistic with yourself and don’t fight the added emotions. Learn to say “No”.
1. Surprised by your Emotional Ambushes: Just the thought of Christmas the holidays, your traditions, the tree, the cards, holiday gatherings can sometimes hit you when you least expect it. The emotions and tears flood in. These tears are a gift from God because sometimes we don’t have the words and the tears come. Take charge and say I’m crying because I have suffered a devastating loss. Take out your handkerchief and don’t apologize. Have a plan and decide what you are going to attend and not.
2. Face the Holidays in Your way and Your time:
Keep in mind other family members will also be feeling the pain of the loved one, but maybe have different emotions. They may want to keep the same traditions going. They may feel they may want to change some traditions now. They will say to you” you should be doing this or you should stop doing that. Don’t be afraid to tell them, that advice is not helping me, it is making me feel worse. All Grief is unique, so the holidays will be different, but let me get through them my way!
3. Cherish the Memories:
Warm and happy memories spent with your loved one will always be a part of your holiday season. Right now, these memories bring up strong emotions that are hard to control. Over the years as you begin to heal these memories will become precious and we will never forget them. Just maybe need to start new memories. Just talking about your loved one each holiday will bring back many memories of them. Realize you cannot duplicate past holidays, decide what you think is best for you this year, and maybe change it the next if you feel it did not work.
4. Your never Alone:
Feelings of loneliness over the holidays are often magnified. Loneliness is an emotion you must first recognize, accept that is it part of your life right now and then discover ways to ease the lonely times. You may feel you are just not connected to anything or anybody as everyone else was out with holiday parties and celebrations. You may feel you have nothing to celebrate this year. Try to be around people who are affirming to your feelings and nurture you.
5. How to handle Holiday Events and Invitations:
Other people do not know what to expect from you or say during the holiday season. Should they invite you to the party, or insist you come, or just leave you alone. Not only do others not know what is best for you, you’re not sure yourself! You will probably be torn between the desire to be at the party to please the person who invited you, but uncertain if you can handle the emotions. It’s OK to laugh and enjoy yourself. In the midst of sorrow, there is Joy!