Many people are starting to feel the excitement and energy of the upcoming holiday season. But some of us are dreading it. You may even be contemplating how to escape or ignore the season that is upon us. I want to encourage you that what you are feeling is ok. It is normal to dread celebrating when your grief is so raw, and your emotions are so overwhelmed.
Holidays are hard. The memories can be so bittersweet. The pain is unavoidable. You may feel like you have to fake it to make it through or numb your pain and avoid any holiday festivities and family gatherings. The following tips can help you find practical ways that you can survive the holidays this year.
1. Plan for the holidays.
Plan what you will do and what you will not do. Plan where you will go, what parties or festivities you will attend, and what ones you can send an ‘Unfortunately, I can’t make it to your __________ this year. Thank you for your invitation.’ Remember to take it slow, decide before the dates if you are going to attend or not, don’t hold yourself accountable, but be flexible. If you cannot face going, don’t go. It is also wise to let your host know that you may or may not be able to attend and allow them to have that flexibility as well when you accept an invitation.
2. Know your limitations.
Don’t push yourself beyond your energy levels or emotional capacity. You are already undergoing an emotional and physically exhausting journey through your mourning. You do not have the energy reserves that you normally do. Plan accordingly and incorporate good self-care. This will ensure that the times you do celebrate you can enjoy yourself. It is ok to give yourself permission and places where you find joy and happiness while you are mourning the loss of someone you love. Guilt for enjoying life can sometimes hold us back from things that we really should be a part of. It is ok to live and enjoy your life while you are grieving. It is a healthy choice that helps us move through the pain of grieving.
3. Communicate your needs and expectations before the festivities happen.
There will be new expectations and some traditions that just won’t be done this year. There may be some new traditions that you start to incorporate the memory of the deceased person into the holiday season. It is healthy grief work to create and include new traditions into our celebrations. Planning them can help everyone add to the creativity of the new expectations and gets everyone talking about their loved one.
4. Remember and allow yourself the space and time you need to grieve the loneliness and the lost connections.
Healing takes time and surviving the holidays can be demanding. Remembering the reason for this season. God’s son was born and helping others can help our grief journey. It fills us with purpose and thankfulness when we can help someone else who is suffering this season. Find ways that you can serve someone else who is less fortunate or isn’t as far along in their grief journey as you are. There are many ways you can help and serve within the limits of your energy and abilities this season, so don’t hibernate or isolate but step in where you can, and you will be amazed at how good it makes you feel to help someone else who is struggling.
5. Attend a free Online Surviving the Holiday’s event
This two-hour online event provides more tips and concrete strategies for handling your grief while celebrating the holidays. November 17th, 2021, at 6:30 pm hosted by Oliver’s Funeral Home and Essentials 2 Grief Transformation. Pre-registration is required. We look forward to meeting with you and learning ways in which we can thrive through the Holidays seasons to come. To register, visit https://www.oliversfuneralhome.com/surviving-the-holidays/
Written by Kimberly Talmey