Wednesday, December 5, 2018

How to Handle Grief During the Holidays Like a Pro

How to Handle Grief During the Holidays Like a Pro // WWW.THEJOYBLOG.NET

If you clicked to read this article, chances are you've lost someone in your life that meant everything to you. First, I'm so sorry you've had to endure that type of loss. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Second, I get your pain. You are in good company here. I'm feeling a little of the re-opened wound right now as well. The holidays really do dredge up those feelings again, don't they? I know my first few holidays without my mom made the grief feel as fresh as the weeks right after she died.

Grief is cyclical, and anything can trigger a renewal of your grief. Major milestones, family get togethers, activities they once did with you, holidays, birthdays, all of these tend to be bittersweet because you once shared them with your loved one, and they are now gone. Or, they were things you were looking forward to with your loved one, and they aren't here to do them.

With all that being said, let's talk about how you can get through the holidays like a pro.


1 // HAVE ZERO EXPECTATIONS FOR YOUR FEELINGS & ACCEPT THEM AS THEY COME

I don't mean have no goals the entire season and turn into a giant couch sloth. I mean make plans, do all the things you want to, but have zero expectations of how you're going to feel at any point this month. Just focus on the present (ha! Christmas pun) and enjoy yourself when you feel happy, and if you are at an event, and feel the tears welling up, allow them to exist. If you can't or don't want to cry in front of people, take a small walk and let it come out, and then rejoin your party.

Allow your heart to feel that pain. It's likely you're going to be at a family or friends event where your loved one always was before. It's also likely someone else there is feeling the loss. It's totally normal to have those moments where you feel your heart start to ache because you can't kiss them under the mistletoe, or hug them and say Merry Christmas, or get your obligatory family photo with them, or just because they're not there and they always were before.

Remember, love doesn't end when a person dies, it just has nowhere to go anymore, so you have to feel both sides of it instead.

2 // CONTINUE OLD TRADITIONS AND/OR START NEW ONES

One thing I noticed when my mom died is we all kind of scattered and didn't come together for the holidays like we used to. Moms really are the glue, aren't they? As a result, the holidays felt much more lonely and chaotic. Some holidays I just stayed home wallowing about it all, others I tried to do new things and had fun but still felt like something wasn't right.

This year, I'm attempting to create new similar traditions that will remind me of old times. This is something we all can do. Did you used to get together in one big house, making food, playing games, etc? Did you always go to a Christmas concert, bake cookies, go caroling, or do some other meaningful event? Continue doing that. And, while you're there, think of your person and mentally, or audibly, tell them you love them. Include them in a way. Start a new tradition in their honor. It can help bring some normalcy into your season and help you honor your grief as well.

How to Handle Grief During the Holidays Like a Pro // WWW.THEJOYBLOG.NET

3 // THERE IS NO RIGHT ANSWER

I can give you all this advice, and hope that it works, but the truth is, there really is no magic formula here. I think we're all just learning to live without our loved ones. Over time, we adjust and get back to life, and have way more good days than bad, and find our meaningful holidays again. It's ok if you need to set aside some time to feel your grief during the holidays. Forgive yourself for being human. Trying to handle the holidays perfectly is just more added pressure and can actually trigger worse feelings than by just letting them happen.


Be good to your heart. Say what you'd say to a grieving friend, but say it to yourself. Do what you'd do for a grieving friend, but do it for yourself. It is tough work trying to make sense of how people can just be gone one day. It takes time and special times of year are a little trickier. That is 100% ok. I hope this helps, and I hope your holiday season is full of all of the good stuff.

Happy Holidays!

Love,
A Fellow Griever


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