The holidays can be one of the toughest times to face, especially after the loss of a loved one. Self-care can be a very important tool to help you navigate through it. Here a few ideas to help you ease your feelings of grief and still bring some comfort and joy to the holiday season.
Everyone needs a helping hand once in a while. Ask for help, and accept help when it is offered. Hire a cleaning service or a caterer for family gatherings. Delegate jobs to other family members, and if it becomes too much, don't be afraid to say no.
Try things a new way. Grief allows us to reevaluate what we enjoy about the holidays and what we don’t. Change things up, start new traditions, or don’t do anything at all. It is perfectly acceptable to refrain from holiday celebrations if you just aren’t up to it. Take a year off if that is what you need to do.
Cry. Don’t keep things bottled up. Let yourself feel the emotions. Cry when you need to. Allow time for your feelings. They can be overwhelming during the holidays and the impact of your loss may be felt even more. Take some quiet time to yourself.
Talk to a professional. Sharing your grief with someone trained to help you can be very cathartic. A professional can offer you support and help you learn ways to cope. You may also want to consider joining a grief support group. Being around others who are going through the stages of grief when everyone else seems happy and full of holiday spirit can help soothe those raw emotions.
Have a Plan B. If you have an event to attend, make sure you have an alternate plan just in case it all becomes “too much”. Plan something that you can do instead of the event, should you feel the need to cancel. Sometimes just knowing you have that option can make the original event easier to face. Be honest and clear with family and friends about what you want to do, and what you don’t want to do. Planning ahead and communicating will let others know how you wish to spend the holidays. Don’t feel guilty about skipping events if you are feeling overloaded. The holidays are tough but they will, in time, get easier.
The most important thing to remember during the holidays is to take care of yourself. Grieve when you need to. Enjoy the happy moments without guilt, and go through the sad ones the same way. With a little self-care and some support, the holidays can be festive once again.