Thursday, December 18, 2014

20 Tips for Grieving During the Holidays

Life is full of season.  Some seasons are full of life.  Others are long and restless.  The holiday season, for example, rushes in, beconing us to savor every moment while also demanding our attention for numerous tasks.

Grief, on the other hand, doesn't care for seasons.  It doesn't care how busy you are or how many expectations there are on your time.  Grief only knows one thing: grief.

Back in 2012, I shared our story of loosing three family members and how others were loving on us during the holiday season.  And again in 2013, I encouraged you to love others in their grief.  As life would have it, I find myself once again looking at grief during the Christmas season.  This past April, my grandma died.  And although we've walked this road of grief before, it's fresh every time we make the journey.

Holiday grief is unique.  No matter how much time passes, the holidays remind us of family and can open fresh wounds.  And when those wounds are open, it's just best to step back and release expectations.  These are the moments when holiday obligations fade away and self-care is essential.  Because the holidays are especially tough, these are a few ways to release grief during a stressful time:

  1. Acknowledge that the holidays will be different this year.  
  2. Allow yourself some time to reflect on that reality and mourn for what's been lost.
  3. Decide what traditions you want to keep.  Are any too painful to continue?
  4. Remember that we all grieve differently.
  5. Bake your loved ones favorite cookies and enjoy them with others.
  6. Light a special candle in memory of a loved one.
  7. Make a donation to a favorite charity in memory of your loved one.
  8. Talk to a counselor while working through the holidays.
  9. Journal
  10. Take a hot bath
  11. Clearly communicate what you want and don't want out of this holiday season.
  12. Talk to kids about the good memories you have.  Don't be afraid to let them see you cry.
  13. Don't feel guilty about anything you are too sad or overwhelmed about doing.
  14. Ask for help in the kitchen.
  15. Ask for and receive help.
  16. Look for things that make you happy.
  17. Buy a small gift for yourself.
  18. Buy a gift your loved one would have enjoyed and donate it to charity.
  19. Donate a holiday meal to a family in need.
  20. Remember that happiness and sadness are two sides of the same coin and it's ok to feel both.
Whatever you do this holiday season, know that we all grieve in our own way and in our own time.  Your grief is unique to you, but if you find yourself overwhelmed or depressed, know that it's also ok to talk to someone about it.  The holidays can be rough on someone grieving and there's no shame in seeking help.  

What are your thoughts on grieving during the holidays?

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