The holidays are supposed to be a time of great joy. In the midst of the hustle and bustle and the cheerful carols, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that this time of year can be intensely painful for those who have experienced the loss of someone they loved.
gri Watching other people enjoy time with loved ones can stand in stark contrast to the loneliness you feel without your friend or family member by your side.
At Nalley-Pickle & Welch, we hope you know you’re not alone. If you’re in need of help with grief, please reach out to us. We can connect you with counselors in Midland and Howard Counties, or direct you to our online interactive grief support. And while we know there is no magic potion or three-step solution to getting over grief, here are some healthy practices we hope will not just get you through the holidays, but perhaps help you find your own joy.
Be patient and forgiving with yourself.
Even if your loss was many years ago, it is perfectly normal for you to experience sadness and even anger. Grief is a long process that looks differently for everyone. Give yourself permission to feel what you feel.
Handle traditions with care.
You might find the annual cookie exchange or the Christmas morning breakfast is simply too painful for you this year. That’s perfectly okay. Don’t let external pressure force you into something that is going to increase your pain. It’s okay to excuse yourself from family traditions. The people who love you will understand and support you. It might be time for some new traditions, like attending an annual remembrance service for your loved one.
It’s too easy to pick up that extra cocktail or another slice of pie when you’re feeling down. But our mental health is closely related to our physical health. Give yourself the best chance possible by maintaining balance when it comes to holiday treats.
Get plenty of rest.
The holidays can be a very busy time. Shopping, cooking, preparations, and special events can fill your calendar quickly. Or you might work in an industry that is particularly hectic during the holiday season. Make sure you’re recharging by getting plenty of sleep at night and catching cat naps when you can.
One of the best ways to remind ourselves of the true reason for the season is by helping others. There are plenty of opportunities during the holidays for reaching out to those in need. Contact local charities and churches to find out how they’re serving your community, and if you feel up to it, get involved. You might be surprised how it lifts your spirits!
Above all else, remember that this time of year really isn’t about presents, food, or parties – it’s about the truest gift of all – love. Reflect on the love you gave and received to the friend or family member you lost. Nothing – not even physical separation – can take that away.