Grief – It is such a weird and powerful emotion. Grief and suffering during the holidays is one of the most difficult experiences and can be quite overwhelming. While this year has been one of the best years of my life, it has also been one of the most devastating. Greif comes in many different forms and changes with each person. While we are quickly approaching the holidays, here are a few things I have learned along the way that may help you be better equipped to face your loss in the midst of all the holiday cheer.
And please – no matter what you read, remember that there is no right or wrong way to grieve…these are just my personal thoughts on how to get through the holidays.
Be gentle with yourself – You are allowed to feel. It is important to make time for your feelings; bottling up your emotions will only make you feel worse. There is grace in tears; there is strength in acknowledging that the holidays will be tough. It is also acceptable to laugh and enjoy the holidays – it does not diminish your love for who you are grieving for.
Don’t take on too much – It is OKAY to say no. Be honest with those that care about you and be straightforward with what you do and don’t want to do. Set realistic expectations for yourself and recognize that you may not have the same energy you usually do around the holidays. Your Christmas tree does not need to look perfect this year; heck, you don’t even have to decorate if you are not up for it. Avoid signing up for too many dishes and let yourself to scale back.
Allow others to help – You do not have to put on a show. Ask for help and don’t be too proud to accept support. What is the point of having friends and family if you cannot lean on them when times are tough? Letting people help me has been one of the hardest things to adjust to but I couldn’t have made it through this year without that help.
Don’t withdraw from your loved ones – Surround yourself with the comfort of others. While having alone time is incredibly important, withdrawing completely from your support system is not the way to go – no matter how tempting it can be. Depending on your situation, you probably are not the only one grieving. Don’t let your heart harden and continue to reach out to those that love you and want to support you.
Find something that lets you breathe – Help your body help itself. Journal. Meditate. Volunteer. Be outside. Pray. Run. Walk. Scream. Dance. Exercise. Read. Bake. Take a bath. Slow down. Whatever it is, do something that makes you feel alive.