Holiday Stress

Holiday Memories

This year, 2020, has brought up a lot of emotional feelings with the election, protests, COVID-19, stay at home orders, and work closures, etc. and now it’s time for the holidays–a time to enjoy the company of your loved ones and be grateful for surviving this crazy year.  But what if you have lost a loved one recently, or even not so recently?  As the holidays approach, will this cause more anxiety than normal? The holidays are a time for family, friends, food, parties, gifting. But for some people it is not a joyful time because they are dealing with the death of a loved one.  

How do you continue with life and keep the memory of your loved one alive?  That is a common question that people ask themselves when they have recently lost a loved one. 
Suffering a loss, no matter how expected it may be, can leave you facing an uphill struggle to climb.  However, even with the deepest pain, there is hope. Grief is the body’s natural response to losing someone or something important to you.   Grief can occur for many reasons, not just the loss of a loved one.  You can encounter grief for numerous reasons, such as the loss of a job, a relationship ending, moving to a new home, developing a chronic illness, orthe loss of a pet or loved one.   Grieving is a natural process and nothing to be ashamed of.

When grieving, you may experience a variety of emotions, such as intense sadness, anger, and loneliness, and for different reasons. Everyone deals with grief differently, but by understanding your emotions, taking care of yourself, and seeking support when necessary, you will be able to heal and move forward with your life. 

Here are five tips on how to deal with grief during the holidays:

Honor the person you lost: If your loved one loved baking an apple pie for Christmas Eve, can you continue to do this on their behalf? Maybe you bake it while listening to their favorite music, honoring their memory.  Remember the good times that you had with this person and send them your love by recreating a fun tradition that they would do.

Start a new tradition: If being home for the holidays is too much to bear, you could try leaving
town and creating a new tradition of traveling during the holidays.  Or perhaps you join other family members or friends in their holiday celebration.  Create new memories that you can enjoy.

Help others: Think about ways you can honor your loved one by helping others. If your grandma loved to volunteer at the church, maybe you step in to fill her place this year. If your wife/husband loved animals, volunteering at the pet shelter may be a great option.  Giving back to the community always gives you more than you give.  Helping others (animals or people) will bring love and joy to your heart.

Go to a support group: Find a local grief support group to attend before the holidays. You can also check Grief Share’s website for local “Surviving the Holidays” workshops that help guide you through the whole process.  Getting support from other people going through the same process can bring comfort.

Express your needs and be honest: Leading up to the holiday celebrations, take the time to email, text, or call the family you plan to see over the holidays. Give them a glimpse into what you are feeling and your plans for the holidays. Let them know that you are going through a hard time adjusting to a new normal and that you really appreciate their patience with your decisions to attend or not attend the holiday get together. 

Do the things that help you to feel better, do not feel pressured to attend events that create negative feelings within you.  It is normal to want some time to yourself and to want to avoid certain events.  However, if you find yourself walled off from the rest of the world, not wanting to go anywhere, then it is time to reach out for professional help.  Be open and honest with the ones you love, they will be there to support you.

If you lost someone important recently, this holiday season won’t be easy… but you will get through it. And over time, the holidays will become more desirable. You will find that you can honor the memory of the person you loved while still living your life, able to laugh and enjoy the days.  Be ok with the emotions that you feel and avoid judging them.  

If you would like assistance in this grieving process please book a session with me.  I can assist you with the grieving process by offering communication with your loved ones.

Becky Kay Intuitive Consultant

Posted In - General, Mental Health