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Grief Over The Holidays

December 21, 2017

Self-Care Ideas

By: Cathy Young MS, LPC
Hospice Counselor

Sometimes remembering a loved-one can warm your heart and the next moment it can knock you off your feet. The holidays are packed with waves of emotions. Consider the following while making a holiday survival plan and leave some room for joy to creep into your holiday season.

  1. Try something old and something new: Weave a few cherished traditions with some new holiday ideas. You don't need to recreate holidays past; instead, do what feels right.
  2. Be mindful: Stay "in the moment" as much as possible. The anticipation of the holidays without your loved-one can amplify the reality. Try to accept your emotions as they come. Since there is no right way to grieve, don't judge yourself through this challenging time.
  3. Consider support: Try saying "yes" to support groups, get-togethers, grief counselors, or friends who can relate.
  4. Phone a friend: If you choose to try some holiday spirit, invite a friend or two over to help baking, wrapping, or decorating.
  5. Lend a helping hand: Volunteer serving meals, wrapping gifts, or making food or presents for others in need.
  6. Keep it simple: Many people find that staying gently busy is helpful through the holiday but having quiet time and reducing stress is essential to allow the grieving process to progress toward healing.
  7. Have an exit strategy: Step-out with an attitude that you will enjoy yourself in the outside world. Have a strategy that allows you to shorten your visit in case you feel uncomfortable.
  8. Count your blessings: If you have lost one of your greatest blessings, this is a challenging list to compile. Building a grateful heart is a sure way to a warming heart. Try noticing three small blessings a day. Keep a journal or post them on sticky notes and notice how they grow!

Try to Celebrate the Holiday

Trying to celebrate a holiday without a loved-one can feel insurmountable - like a mountain that lies between you and happiness. A good goal could be to find moments of joy and peace and record them in your journal. This allows the grateful moments to add-up and lighten your heart for future holiday celebrations.

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