Planning to Get You Through the Holidays

Family of five saying grace at the dinner table during Christmastime

Plans are nothing, planning is everything… Dwight D. Eisenhower

This quote speaks to our topic just perfectly. Everyone knows that the holidays are filled, overflowing in fact, with plans, parties and traditions. This can be challenging to anyone, but for those in the midst of dealing with loss, festivities can get overwhelming. So let’s take the advice of our former president and get planning.

Whether your grief is brand new or has long been a part of your life, knowing what the holidays will bring can give you the upper hand in making it through. Now, as many traditions are just weeks away, spend a few moments reflecting on holidays past. What are your family’s traditions, regular events planned by friends, roles that individuals play in holiday festivities? By taking measure of what lies ahead, you can best make your plans and avoid surprises that may be hard to manage.

Traditions: Reflect on how you feel about family traditions and events that may have involved your lost loved one. Figure out if and how you want to participate in those traditions and let everyone know before hand. This will alleviate a lot of concern among family and friends as to how to approach the subject and also allow you time to consider before being put on the spot.

Plan How to Manage Any Guilt: A component of grief that often surfaces during the holidays is guilt. How can you be joyous and celebratory when someone you love is not here to share that joy? To those who aren’t experiencing great loss, this may be a difficult concept to understand. But for those who are grieving, there can be a multitude of emotions simultaneous and contradictory. Being aware that these feelings may conflict can allow you to formulate a plan as to managing them the best way you can.

Make New Traditions: One of the proven ways to help get through the holidays when a loved one is no longer there to share it with you, is by making a new tradition in his or her honor. This creates a special space for weaving your love for them into your experience of the holidays not only this year but for years to come. Plan something special in their honor with your family and friends. It will bring a sense of joy to help dispel the feelings of loss.

Our next blog will suggest some meaningful ways to create new traditions for those who are absent, making the holidays just a little easier to look forward to.