This holiday season, we are finally coming out of the pandemic era. Life will never be exactly the same as before, but we are getting closer to a new sense of normalcy. With new flu variations going around, social and political issues rife, mixed in with personal issues, the holidays can be a challenging time. This makes dealing with grief or loss more difficult to process. The holiday season can trigger a variety of emotional traumas.
This is why it is essential to open up the conversation on dealing with grief, and finding happiness or personal peace during the holiday season. According to Diana Raab’s article in Psychology Today, in a survey of 2,000 people, 36% did not want to celebrate the holidays due to grief or loss (Raab, 2022). Normally the holidays are a time for family to come together, which is why this can be an emotionally charged period. Honoring yourself while you honor others is key.
Here are a few tips from Raab:
How to Cope with Loss During the Holiday Season
Give yourself enough time to cope
- Be gentle with yourself, grief is visceral and there is no time frame to abide to, healing is a journey.
- Give yourself the space and time to reminisce and grieve.
- Make sure you take care of yourself
- Sometimes grief and loss will cause us to neglect our personal emotional well-being. Do things that make you feel joy or fill your own cup. Go on a mental health walk, try drawing or painting, watch a movie, or maybe even go on a lunch-date with a close friend.
- Add a healthy diet and quality sleep to your routine.
- Find your support group or individuals
- This can be a close friend, or someone who didn’t know the person, a licensed therapist, or a support group.
- Honor your loved one through ritual
- Writing about your loved one, a poem, on social media, or creating a memory box, or planting a tree. All of these symbolic rituals can help you to cope with your grief.
- “According to research into transitional grief objects, when you have items that remind you of your loved one or symbolic connections nearby, these too can help with the grieving process by providing a sense of security.” (Raab, 2022)
- Give to others
- Helping others who are dealing with loss, can also help bring about your healing journey. Strength comes in numbers, and channeling negative energies into positive ones can be freeing. As well as another way to honor your lost one.
Making sure your emotions are in check and that you’re feeling balanced when dealing with loss or grief is the first step. But finding joy and personal peace is the next, key step.
Tips for embracing Grace and Joy while Loss and Grief is Present During the Holiday Season:
According to Kristin Meekhof’s article in psychology today, “Grace is about acceptance, forgiveness, love; and as hard and bitter as this is to swallow, it heals you unlike anything else. There is no magic formula, but those who are open to the possibility of it occurring and those who practice self-compassion will tell you that grace begins to mold together the fractures.”.
We need to practice grace for others and most importantly ourselves. Like the saying goes, we cannot fill up another’s cup if our own is empty. Self-care and healing should be your main priority. Yes, feeling heavy emotions such as guilt is normal when dealing with loss. However, giving space for yourself to heal and grow from the situation is a beautiful gift you give not only to yourself but your lost loved one as well.
Shifting your focus to joy and love is the answer. When we move from a place of love, healing gets easier. Try reflecting with those close to you on happy moments you had with your lost loved one. Looking at old photos, visiting places you went together, or even a favorite meal, can help you to feel closer to them.
Taking time for yourself, reading a book, taking yourself out on a solo date, or picking up a new creative hobby, can help you to feel more emotionally balanced. Remember, you are never alone with your grief. Talk to someone or a licensed professional if you need more guidance and support. The holiday season can be difficult and heartbreaking at times when you’re experiencing loss. Making time to honor not only others but yourself, can help to relieve stress during this time. Find joy in the little things and the bigger picture of life.
“Grace evaporates fear. And fear is often what lines the hearts and minds of the bereaved. Give yourself grace.” – Kristin Meekhof, 2016
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Awakening Aspiration!