None of us are ever fully prepared for losing a loved one, but the pain can be especially intense when the loss occurs during the holiday season. How is it possible to cope with grief when we’re culturally expected to celebrate and be happy during these times?
It’s crucial to take care of yourself in the ways you need. If you feel the need to scale back on holiday gatherings or skip the office party, there is no shame or guilt. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to others or skip them for a year if you don’t feel up to it. Finding someone objective (ideally, outside your family or circle of friends, such as a qualified grief counselor or member of clergy) to talk to may help through the journey of grief. They may show you useful skills like meditation or personal affirmations which you can use beyond the stressful holiday season.
Because the holidays are a time to gather with family and friends, the person’s absence may be felt more strongly. Many people choose to create traditions to honor their memory: singing a favorite song, making their signature recipe, or reminiscing on happy times while looking through photos or videos. On the flip side, if there were traditions you shared with your loved one which now feel too painful, nothing says you must continue those traditions. If you wish to “pass it on” to others in need, consider a memorial donation to a charity both of you supported, or a day of service at a local soup kitchen, animal shelter, or anywhere else which holds meaning.
Grief can be unpredictable and appear when we least expect it. In the holiday season, when many of us are already under added stress, this compounds the issue. Consider coming up with an “exit strategy” to gracefully bow out or just step out for a break. If you have a supportive friend or family member willing to listen during these rough times, keep their number handy for a quick text or call. A pet can also be a sympathetic listener; cats and dogs are natural grief counselors.
Most importantly, it’s best not to burden yourself with “shoulds.” There is not one way you should feel, there isn’t a set number of events or gatherings you should attend, and there isn’t a designated period when grief takes place. Grieving is a lifelong process. If you lose a loved one during the holidays, you will likely associate the season with that loss forever. Allow yourself to feel everything. As much as you can, continue to consume nourishing food and drink, stay active, and (in winter climates) plenty of vitamin D/sunlight. No two people are alike and their grief processes can’t be either.
It’s all right if you’re not feeling so jolly in the wake of a loss. Finding the right balance between self-care and meaningful acts to give back can help alleviate the absence of your loved one and share a little bit of hope with others who need it…chances are some of them are grieving too, and you may be the one they need most right now.
Author: Mystic Shelley http://bestamericanpsychics.com/listing/mystic-shelley