There are others I know who are in the thick of it and in need of a breath of fresh air. You are grieving too! What to do?
Acknowledge Your Feelings
First and foremost, acknowledge your feelings. It’s normal to feel a range of emotions during the holidays, especially after a loss. You may experience sadness, anger, or even guilt. Allow yourself to feel these emotions without judgment. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to grieve.
Create a New Tradition
Holidays are often tied to traditions, and the pulling absence of a loved one can make these traditions feel hollow. Consider creating a new tradition in their honor. This could be something simple, like lighting a candle for them, or something more involved, like volunteering in their memory. New traditions can provide a sense of continuity and a way to keep their memory alive. I have a ritual of going to my father’s graveside every Christmas and Spring to freshen it up, add some new flowers and have a word with my dad. His voice is still with me in our quiet moments together.
Connect With Others
Isolation can intensify feelings of loneliness and grief. Reach out to friends, family, or community groups. Even if you don’t feel like participating in large gatherings – small get-togethers or even virtual connections can provide support and companionship. Sharing memories of your loved one with others can also be a comforting way to feel connected to them.
Take Care of Yourself
The holidays can be busy and stressful, so it’s important to take care of yourself. Ensure you get enough rest, eat healthily, and engage in activities that you enjoy and that relax you. Gentle exercise, like walking or yoga, can also be beneficial. It’s not too late to join our Healthspan Challenge. We are supporting each other to take better care of ourselves and you are welcome! Here is a link to our private Facebook page.
Have Some Holiday Me Time
While it’s important to acknowledge feelings of sadness, try to also focus on the unique aspects of the holiday season. This could include the joy of seeing Christmas through the eyes of small children, the beauty of nature this time of year, or the pleasure of watching classic holiday movies. I recently caught Judy Garland in Meet Me in St Louis! My other classic faves are Love Actually, It’s a Wonderful Life and Holiday Inn. Choosing small, positive moments for yourself are not indulgent … they are necessary.
Give Yourself Permission to Change Your Plans
As nurturers, even the act of giving can become strenuous. That is understandable. It’s acceptable to adjust holiday activities to suit your emotional capacity. Giving and receiving can help shift sadness and lift a spirit, especially when we are blue. Do a small, conscious act of kindness for another. Allow others to do acts of kindness for you.
The holidays can be bittersweet, yet with thoughtful approaches, it’s possible to unearth pockets of happiness amidst the grief. By honoring your emotions, fostering connections, and initiating new traditions, you can steer through the holiday season in a way that is both respectful to your loss and open to the warmth and joy that the season can offer.
As Judy Garland would say, “Have yourself a merry little Christmas.”