Grief affects all of us differently, but the first holidays after losing a loved one tend to be a universally difficult time.
Here are 7 tips to help you access a sense of peace and cheer while honoring yourself and your loved one.
- Acknowledge it. It’s common to try to “power through” difficult feelings during higher-stress periods, like holidays. It’s also common to burn out due to exhaustion while doing that. Rather than push anger and sadness aside, work to acknowledge and name your feelings. Being honest with yourself will help you plan a more sustainable holiday.
- Schedule less. Holidays have become increasingly busy times. In the first year after a loss, prioritize the most important traditions and give yourself room to say “no” when fatigue sets in or you need alone time.
- Or schedule differently. If you realize that you’re dreading the usual traditions, it’s okay to pivot and establish new traditions, like a vacation, dinner with friends at a favorite restaurant, or volunteering. It honors our late loved ones to move forward and continue to celebrate life’s joyful moments.
- Forgive yourself. You may find yourself feeling guilty for missing an event, or for not being sociable when you do attend. Sometimes it’s hard to accept feelings of happiness after a loss. Grief can be an emotional roller coaster. Time will help, but in the meantime, give yourself grace to feel whatever you feel.
- Forgive others. For some people, it’s so difficult to express condolences that they appear not to show up when you need them the most. While this is a somewhat common reaction to emotionally charged situations, it can feel hurtful, and that hurt may be amplified by the holidays. Instead of anger or resentment, actively choose forgiveness. Know they likely care for you very much even if they aren’t expressing that clearly in the wake of your loss. Practicing compassion for others has powerful healing effects.
- Commemorate. Paying tribute is a valuable part of grieving, and there are many easy ways to do this. Try lighting a candle, designating a moment of silence during a get-together, planning a hike or quiet time to think about your loved one, or setting a place at the dining table in memoriam.
- Talk. Friends and family are probably looking for ways to help and may be eager to lend a listening ear. If you need more help than you want to ask of your circle, support groups and counseling are incredibly effective in making you feel less alone through the grieving journey.
Mahajan Therapeutics offers professional solutions tailored to your needs. Contact us today to discuss support strategies for the holiday season.