The holiday season is just around the corner. As I walk around my neighbourhood I see the lights on the houses, the decorations, and the wreaths hung on doors. The malls and the advertisers are in full swing reminding us that we only have so many more days until the big day is here.
We are bombarded with these messages but for many this is one of the most challenging times of the year because some are grieving for a loved one who has died. You may feel this loneliness deep down inside you and it aches. An ache that is indescribable, a piece of you is gone and you don’t know how you will survive. You may be having trouble getting out of bed because you haven’t slept more than a few hours. You have no energy and just moving through your day exhausts you. Or you may be mad at life and being reminded that this is supposed to be a happy time which sends you over the deep end.
Everywhere there are reminders that they are gone. Yet you are expected to cheer up and put on that smile and participate in the celebrations, the parties, and all the social engagements that come with this time of year.
However, what are your to do? In reality you are just trying to figure out how you are going to get through it. This is one of the hardest times of the year for people who are grieving because all they see are people who are happy and they are not. They miss their loved one terribly. They are grieving. “Just leave me alone and let me grieve!” There is no rhyme or reason to grief. It is always there — even when we pretend it is not.
20 tips to help you get through the holiday season in one piece:
- Understanding that there is no quick fix for grieving is the first step.
- Feel what you need to feel and allow yourself to experience it even if it is painful.
- Be gentle on yourself.
- Don’t push yourself, be as kind and thoughtful to yourself as you are to others.
- Don’t try to be the super person who handles everything.
- You will burn yourself out and become resentful of others. Let others take the lead, all you need to do is show up.
- Be honest with yourself and trust what you are feeling.
- Spend time quietly and you will know the answers. If you know that you don’t want to go to a party then be OK with not going.
- Be with people you trust and who love you because you need their support.
- Surround yourself with love. Let others nurture and support you in your time of need. People want to help you, it’s important to allow them to.
- Remember and honour your loved one who has died.
- Do not pretend they did not exist and let others know that you enjoy talking about them and sharing stories. These memories help us.
- Do not isolate yourself.
- It is important to spend quality time alone, however, if you just want to be left alone then this is a red flag. Even if you just go out and have a coffee — it is important to be around others.
- Keep it simple.
- It’s OK not to buy presents. Don’t let yourself get pulled into the hustle and bustle of the advertisers. Enjoy simple pleasures like taking a walk, enjoying a cup of tea, or watching a funny movie.
- It is OK to change your mind.
- This is important! It is perfectly all right to say no when you already said yes to something or vice versus.
- Volunteer to help out in an event in your community.
- Create an altar for your loved one.
- Place photos of your loved one, something that was special to them, and a candle. Light the candle daily.
- Create a meal that your loved one enjoyed.
- Set a place for them at the table and enjoy the time together. Don’t even consider what others will think. Who cares!
- Eat as nutritionally as you can.
- The holidays mean excess we tend to overeat. Eat as clean as possible, which means lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Drink water, lots of water.
- We are made up of 75% water. When we grieve we forget how important it is to drink water. Water hydrates the body and flushes out the system.
- Love the body.
- A little exercise has amazing benefits physically, emotionally, and mentally.
- Take time for rest and relaxation.
- A quick nap will rejuvenate you, especially if you are not sleeping through the night.
- Buy a gift for your deceased loved one.
- Buy something you know they would have loved and then donate the gift to charity.
- Find things that you are grateful for.
- It’s important to remember all the blessings that you do have in your life.
- When we are stressed and sad we tend to take shallow breaths. Focusing on your breath will bring calm you when you are anxious.
- Start a journal.
Journaling is a way to express your thoughts in a safe way. Be bold and write whatever you want, in other words don’t sensor your thoughts. Getting your thoughts out of your mind onto paper can be very healing.
The most important thing during season is to be gentle on yourself and take it moment by moment. That is all any of us can do. The year is ending and 2018 is just around the corner the beginning of a new year. That can be a scary thing when one is grieving because everything that was familiar is now gone. Again, focus on the now and know deep down there will light at the end of the tunnel.
I know that moving through grief can be scary. Believe me, I’ve been there and I get it. Through my own personal journey and helping countless other people, I have developed my signature Platform for Well-Being system that is a proven holistic path for moving through grief with ease and reaching a balanced and happy life gracefully. If you need support during this process from someone who’s been there and come out the other side, reach out to me for a (no obligation) Discovery Session. I am here to support you.