Grief is inevitable in life, and unfortunately, it doesn’t take a break just because the holidays are coming. In fact happy cheery holiday time can be even harder to keep grief in check. Despite grief not taking a holiday, there are ways to cope with it. And fortunately for some, the busyness of the holidays takes their mind off of other issues going in life. If not these tips might be helpful in having a slightly better holiday.
Reevaluate Holiday Tasks
If grandpa recently passed and he was the one who carved the turkey, you’ll need to figure out who should continue the tradition. In some instances, you may want just to discontinue a tradition if it isn’t something completely necessary. Having to carry on a tradition that reminds you of a deceased loved one may make the holidays even harder. Therefore, you should ask yourself if a tradition is necessary and if you want to carry it on for future generations. Always keep in mind that children aren’t as emotionally involved when a person passes due to their lack of understanding and time invested in a relationship cut short, but they may care about the traditions that surrounded the holidays.
While you may feel like you’d rather curl up in a ball and hibernate the holidays away, this will only make matters worse. If grief just happened, you need to find ways to occupy your time. This may include shopping, working or cleaning your home. Many people find cleaning, as an excellent stress relief, and your house will reap the benefit. Another option to occupy your time during the holidays is to work. Many people need to take time off in order to complete the tasks they need done or to spend with family. Therefore, there are many opportunities for you to offer to take their shift and pick up some overtime. Plus, in the retail and hospitality fields, everything gets busier during the holidays, so there are more opportunities for overtime anyways. Don’t hesitate to look for opportunities outside of your regular job such as dressing up like Santa or other seasonal positions. Another option is to volunteer. Not only will you occupy your time, but you’ll also be helping others, which will make you feel better and heal yourself.
Invite Someone New For the Holidays
Other people are lonely on the holidays and would love to have someone to spend the day with. If you have a friend who doesn’t have anywhere to go, invite them to your holiday event. You’ll feel better knowing you helped someone else feel less alone.
It’s Okay to Grieve
Don’t feel like you have to put on a smile for the holidays even if you don’t want to. If you’re absolutely not up to going to a holiday gathering, it’s okay to say no. Take time for yourself to grieve and to accept what happened. People will understand if you have to say no to hosting the bake sale you do every holiday season. On the other hand, you could ask other people to help you, so you don’t have a full workload on top of the pain you’re feeling. Always remember that you need to do what’s best for you to cope with grief. You don’t need to hide your emotions and take on something you’re truly not comfortable with. However, you may not want to cancel the holidays totally if other people count on you for being around during this time. On the other hand, if you’re completely not up for it, those who love you will be understanding.
Allow Yourself Time to Be Happy
You don’t have to spend the next month crying or being depressed. It’s okay to enjoy the holidays even if there’s grief going on around you. You can take time to grieve because it’s necessary, but make sure you open yourself up to allow for fun and joy during the holidays. Hard times don’t have to mean perpetual misery.
Any Emotion is Okay
Everybody handles grief differently; so don’t beat yourself up for the way you feel. Go ahead and get angry. Feel free to spend time crying and letting out your sadness. And if you’re one of those people who cope by placing your feelings on the back burner and continuing with life, don’t feel like it’s wrong.
Talk to Family and Friends
People are out there who care about you including your friends and family. Even if you don’t need to talk to them to cope with the grief, give them a call just to talk and feel close to someone. Schedule an outing with them. It may be comforting to have someone around during the holidays, especially if you’re feeling lonely and empty due to a recent loss.
Holidays Are for Children
Santa Claus is meant to bring joy to children. Just because you might not fully be into the holidays, remember that your kids, nieces, nephews and other
tots in your life look forward to the season for the joy it brings. Focus on the children and the happiness you can bring to them. You might not feel up for having a cup of cheer yourself, but making sure the kids have a good holiday will bring a bit of happiness your way. And it can take your mind off of the pain you’re feeling.
Schedule Time for Yourself
Even if you’re dreading the holiday season, it will make it more tolerable by planning time for yourself. Have a spa day after you’re done shopping or go out for a drink with a friend after a long day at work. Maybe you’d prefer just taking a long, hot bath and enjoying a good book.
Create a New Tradition
You don’t have to keep every tradition the same. It might be comforting to do something entirely different or to do something in your loved one’s memory.
Although you can’t change what you feel, you may be able to make it more manageable with these tips. Never feel like you’re alone in the grief you feel during the holidays. Surround yourself with those you care about or contact a support line to talk.