Holidays mark the passage of time in our lives. Most of us were told when we were growing up that “Holidays are time spent with loved ones.”
But for many people, the holiday season is one of the hardest times in grief. We miss our loved ones even more than usual. How can you celebrate togetherness when there is none? When you have lost someone special, your world loses its celebratory qualities. Holidays only magnify the loss. The sadness feels sadder and the loneliness goes deeper. The need for support may be the greatest during the holidays. You can and will get through the holidays. It is not the grief you want to avoid, it is the pain. Grief is the way out of the pain.
Grief is an inevitable part of life, but that doesn’t make navigating it any easier. The deep sorrow that accompanies the death of a loved one, the end of a marriage or even moving far away from home, is real. We will all experience tragedy and loss at some point in our lifetimes. The goal isn’t to avoid the grief completely that naturally arises, but rather try to experience it in a safe place and move through it.
If you’re suffering from grief, here are a number of ways to help get you through the holidays:
1. Be honest about your grief.
You might feel pressured to have a joyful holiday even when nothing has gone wrong in life. But if you’re in grief, don’t feel the need to fake it or be happier than you actually are. You don’t have to have holiday joy!!
2. Include the loss into your holidays.
The grief is there anyway. Light a candle in their honor. Dedicate the prayer before dinner to your loved one. You can also have everyone at the dinner table share a favorite story about your loved one.
3. Take your grief online.
For this you can use Facebook to share photos of past holidays with loved ones now gone. Also there are many closed Facebook groups, just for those grieving. Sharing what you feel with others will help you navigate loss. You will also see other people out there are also feeling loss during the holidays… you’re not alone.
4. You don’t have to go or stay at an event.
Feel free to say, you just wanted to drop by or you have another event to get to.
5. Re-evaluate your rituals and traditions.
Choose what works and doesn’t. You can even cancel a holiday. You don’t have to do those 200 Christmas cards. You don’t have to cook the dinner. Free yourself and start new traditions.
6. It’s okay to say “No.”
You do not have to do anything you don’t want to do. And you don’t have to explain it. “No, thank you” also works well. Set limits for yourself. Grief takes a great deal of energy. Allow yourself to be selective. Say yes to the situations that will be less overwhelming.
On the other hand, when saying ‘no,’ don’t allow yourself complete isolation. Get up, get dressed, and get out of the house. Stay engaged with the world and people in it but on your terms. There will be a day when you’ll have to force yourself to go out, but likewise, there will be a day where you’ll look forward to going out. Find the balance.
7. Speak Up.
Practice saying “I’m lonely” or “Today’s just a rough day, I’ll be fine tomorrow.” It’s ok to laugh. It’s also ok to talk about your loved one and the great memories. Others will want to help or be eager to fix your grief, simply be aware that they care about you and they mean well no matter how annoying it may feel!
Do something special to remember your loved one. Plant a tree, buy a special ornament to hang on the tree or do something in honor of them.
The bottom line is this; grief is rough. Our loved one(s) wouldn’t want us to remain sad. Every loss is different so that every healing will be different. After a loss, holidays are some of the roughest terrain we navigate. The holidays are part of the journey to be felt fully. They are usually very sad, but sometimes we may catch ourselves doing okay, and we may even have a brief moment of laughter.
Sharing a Guided Meditation for Grief & Healing from Sonima.com…
In this meditation you’ll work to feel grief as it is without focusing on the details that surround it. By going past the storyline, painful circumstances can become more manageable. Simply focus your attention on the breath, it creates a sense of calm in the body. Learning to sit with and breathe with grief can enable us to see our own power for healing within ourselves.
You might also like this Innovative, High-quality Grief Coping Program: Materials Are Downloaded And Include A Pdf Workbook And 8 (yes, 8!) Mp3 Files: 5 Steps, 2 Maintenance Guided Meditations And Bonus Affirmations. This Program Is Top Notch!
Blessings and Merry Christmas!
Original Article published by The Huffington Post