Ways to care for yourself during what can be an overwhelming time of year.
Losing someone you love is never easy, and that loss can be felt even more keenly during the holidays. As we approach the holiday season, please know that you are not alone and there are ways to find support during this time of year. Below are some steps that you can take to help navigate your grief during this usually very busy and bright time of year.
SET BOUNDARIES AROUND CELEBRATIONS
If planning and hosting parties has always been something you enjoyed, then continuing these activities could help assuage your grief. But if you find social activities to be too draining, be mindful of those feelings by only going out for a brief time or opting to simply stay home. You do NOT need to attend every holiday party or gathering. Be as honest as you are able about why you are uncomfortable attending, and your family and friends will understand.
TALK WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Speaking with family and friends about your grief can be helpful at any time during the healing process. But this can be especially helpful during the holidays when we typically have many common memories. Share favorite stories and memories of your loved one and find comfort in knowing that their spirit lives on through you and all their family and friends. This personal connection can help you find the strength you need during the holiday season.
TAKE TIME FOR SELF-CARE
As you grieve remember to care about yourself! The busy holiday time doesn’t always allow for self-care, but it should be a priority when dealing with a loss. Try to set aside an hour or two each week to do something relaxing that you love; even put it in your calendar if that is helpful in prioritizing yourself. When you take care of yourself, you are setting the groundwork for better physical and emotional health. And remember that everyone has their own version of what self-care looks like – it can be a book, a nap, a special meal you enjoy, or taking a walk – whatever may assist you in transitioning toward a place of some peace and comfort.
SEEK OUT A GRIEF SUPPORT GROUP
Many people find that a support group can be helpful as they approach the holiday season. As you talk to others who are in a similar circumstance, you can learn coping techniques to assist you through the stages of grief. Support groups can also be a timely reminder that you are not alone and that there are many people who can offer assistance if you ever need them.
ASK FOR HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT
The holidays can be challenging in normal years but have the potential to be even more so when you are grieving. If you need help with tasks such as snow shoveling, holiday shopping or decorating, pet care, understanding household bills – really anything - do not hesitate to ask those around you. So often, family and friends are willing to step in to help but aren’t always sure exactly what they should do. Even being around simply to listen, share a cup of tea, or take a drive, are things that can be done with ease.
If you feel you need resources, during the holiday season or anytime, may we suggest looking at:
American Counseling Association
Your local funeral home director may be able to provide you with support resources as well.
Your grief may not look or feel the same as anyone else’s, and that is okay. The most important thing is taking care of yourself and doing what is right for you. During the holiday season and always, the Thumbies team wishes you the best, and hopes you feel supported and cared for.