As The Holidays Approach – Are You Ready?

Woman sitting on windowsill with a yellow mug in her hands

When you have experienced the loss of a loved one, you cannot simply put a pause on your grief and breeze your way into a season of joy. Grief comes in waves, it may get easier in time, but for most it is carried forever.

When family gatherings and happy celebrations abound, no matter how long ago you suffered your loss, embracing the joy of the season may be extremely difficult.

So what do you do? How do you make your way through the holidays while making your way through the grieving process? First and foremost you need to prepare.

Quiet Reflection: Set aside some time before the days get holiday hectic, to understand your feelings and emotions and prepare for the challenges that you may face over the next several weeks. Try to anticipate the things that may be difficult for you. Notify family and friends of some of the events you may want to avoid, as well as those you would like to embrace. Talk to others to determine ways they can help you through.

Set Boundaries: When friends and family know that a loved one is in the midst of the grieving process, they most likely will reach out to help you navigate through the season. However helpful this may be, it can also be overwhelming and may not be in your best interest. By anticipating events that may be extremely difficult for you, with the aid of your support team you can pre-determine how best to deal with those occasions.

Find Coping Skills: There are many online resources with tremendously helpful tips on coping mechanisms for those who are experiencing grief at any time of year. Things like calling a friend, listening to a favorite song, meditation, writing down your thoughts or gentle exercise. Getting your coping skills tool box ready before the busy holidays arrive will give you plenty of time to establish some of the best methods that work for you.

So as the holidays approach, begin your preparation:

  1. Give yourself the gift of quiet reflection to discover the state of your emotions.
  2. Set boundaries to help figure out how to make your way through the coming weeks and let others know beforehand.
  3. Research and practice coping skills to have on hand when grief may overwhelm you.

Our next blog will help you turn your preparation into planning with ideas on how to approach holiday traditions and possibly form new ones in honor of your loved one. Planning ahead allows you to make holiday decisions during a time when you can contemplate what is best for you.