When you think of the holidays, what images fill your mind? Do you imagine evergreens adorned with beautiful lights and ornaments, strings of popcorn or cranberries? Is your mind filled with visions of houses dressed in festive lights? Do you imagine magical and cheerful atmospheres during the season? For many people, it's snowflakes and snowmen and winter wonderlands and children laughing and playing in the snow, making snow angels and having snowball fights. Some people imagine cozy fires in a crackling fireplace, candles and warm and cozy blankets and hot cups of cocoa. Your holiday may be filled with holiday parades and nativity scenes, acts of kindness, Santa Claus and his reindeer. For me, the holiday is not complete without family around the table and the voice of Donny Hathaway or Nat King Cole coming from the stereo.
If these are the images that brighten your thoughts during the holiday season. Consider yourself fortunate. For those who are grieving the loss of a loved one or facing other forms of loss and hardships. This time of year can be particularly challenging. The festivities, Of the gatherings, And the emphasis on happiness can amplify feelings of grief and isolation. Let's explore navigating your grief during the holiday season. Just to honor your emotions while still finding moments of comfort and healing. So many people are experiencing this holiday season as the first season without their loved one. There is a mother out there who is missing her son. She knows he's not coming back. But how does she get through another holiday season without him? The widower who has grown children, who have moved on, he lost his wife in January. Now, in November, he has no idea how to navigate the holidays alone. There are so many stories of lost loved ones. We, of course, cannot recount everyone. If you are dealing with grief and isolation in this holiday season here are some things that you might try
· Acknowledge your feelings:
One of the most crucial steps in dealing with grief during the holiday season is to acknowledge and accept your feelings. Grief is a natural and healthy response to loss, and there's no right way to grieve. It's OK to feel sad. Angry, Or overwhelmed. Even when everyone else seems to be in high spirits. Recognizing your emotions is the first step to finding healing.
· Create new traditions:
Holidays are often steeped in tradition, and many of these traditions can be painful. Centers of happier times. Consider creating new traditions that honor your loved one's memory or simply bring you comfort. Lighting a special candle, decorating a memorial tree, or making a favorite holiday dish in their honor can help you feel connected to the past while moving forward.
· Reach out for support:
Don't be afraid to lean on your support network. Talk to friends, Family members, Or a grief counselor about your feelings. Sharing your thoughts and emotions can be a tremendous source of comfort. Surrounding yourself with people who understand and support you can help alleviate the loneliness that often accompanies grief during the holidays.
· Self-care is key:
Taking care of yourself is paramount during this challenging time. Make self-care a priority by getting enough rest, eating well, and engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Consider exercise, meditation, or even joining a grief support group to help you cope with the added stress of the holiday season.
· Set boundaries:
It's important to set boundaries during the holidays. You have the right to decline invitations or to opt out of activities that may be too emotionally taxing. Do what feels right for you and your healing process, even if it means stepping back from certain obligations.
· Journal your thoughts:
If you've read my blogs, I say this often. Journaling can help you to process what's going on in your mind. Keeping a grief journal can be a helpful way to process your emotions during the holiday season. Writing down your thoughts, memories and reflections can provide an outlet for your grief and offer a way to honor your loved one's memory.
· Find moments of gratitude:
Even during times of grief, it's possible to find moments of gratitude. Positive aspects of your life and the support you have. Gratitude can coexist with grief and help you appreciate the love and connections that. Right.
Grief during the holiday season can be an especially challenging journey. It's important to remember that you are not alone. By acknowledging your feelings, creating new traditions, seeking support, practicing self-care, setting boundaries, journaling, and finding moments of gratitude, you can navigate this difficult time with resilience and grace. Remember that healing takes time, and it's OK to grieve in your own way. Eventually, you may find that the holiday season can once again hold moments of joy and light, even amid the darkness of grief.
About the Author
I wish I could tell you that I knew some deep secret to the art of grieving, that there was some mystical way of waking one day and being completely over your loss. The secret is, there is no secret. Loss can come in many forms and can strike at any time. While we will all face the agony of loss at some point(s) in life, the fact is that it can be the hardest thing we will ever deal with. My name is Jacinta Wills. I became a Grief Specialist because I understand the need to deal with the difficult emotions of loss. I lost a job that I loved doing in 2010. In 2013 my mother was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. In 2015 my grandmother passed away. 4 days later we lost my mom. In 2017 I separated from my husband of 30 years. I am sharing my personal journey with grief so that you understand that when I tell you I know what grief looks like and have experienced so many aspects of what grief is that I do not take it lightly. The single most important thing you need to realize in this moment of your grief journey is this. However difficult it is, you are in the process of healing, right now. In my group, we will tackle some tough topics. You will be able to share experiences about your loss, receive and give support to others who are grieving, and work through some of the emotions that cause you distress. We will have conversations that are sometimes structured and sometimes free-flowing. You will be encouraged to feel your anger, shame, guilt, love, despair, and hopefully some humor along the way.