The holidays are supposed to be a joyous occasion filled with family, food, and fun. However, not all of us feel joyous during this time.
If you have experienced the loss of loved ones who are significant to your family’s holiday traditions, it means facing a “new normal” after they’re gone. In my career and in my personal life, I have had to have these conversations and experiences. I have encouraged clients who are grieving to do what is comfortable and helpful to them during the holidays. The first holidays are always the hardest. You feel a deep emptiness. Christmas was my mom’s favorite holiday. Growing up, she did the whole “Santa Claus” thing and she would be just as happy as me on Christmas morning. We would always spend Christmas Day with the family. It wasn’t many of us, but we would all come together at one house. When I had my oldest son, CJ, he and I would spend Christmas morning at home with my parents, then go spend the rest of the day with his dad’s family, and then come back to spend the rest of the evening with my family. That was the tradition for many years until I experienced a significant loss which was my divorce from CJ’s father. Years later, in a new relationship, a new tradition began where my significant other and I hosted a holiday breakfast at our house and my parents would come there. The holidays of 2016 looked very different from any of the previous years because my mother was gone. However, in our home, with my significant other and my children, the tradition stayed the same which worked for me, even though a piece was missing. The holidays 2017 looked even more different because, now, my mom and dad were gone. The past three years during the holidays have been challenging, but family and friends have been very supportive. I take my own advice and do what I feel is the most comfortable for me. In episode 54 of our show, we discussed 5 tips for coping with grief during the holidays. Below is the full list which consists of 15 tips that we found in an article written by Natalia Luzinski entitled “15 Tips For Coping With Grief Especially Around The Holidays”. Many of them I have done myself and have suggested to my clients. I hope they will help you too!
- Give yourself time and space to process your emotions.
- Find time to be alone.
- Have an escape plan when you attend events if they may be a trigger.
- Don’t be afraid to say no to party invitations.
- Honor their holiday traditions.
- Try new holiday traditions.
- Leave town altogether.
- Connect with others.
- Focus on activities that fulfill you.
- Remember the happy times.
- Be better, not bitter.
- See out professional help and grief resources.
- Do random acts of kindness.
- Practice self-care.
- Remind yourself that you WILL feel better as time goes on.
Check us out on episode 54 as we talk about this and so much more by clicking below