Holidays could be exhausting and stressful, even during the friendliest times. There are several expectations placed on you to be excited and joyful upon seeing friends and family during the holidays. Not many know that a lot of people usually feel disappointed, or even let down, post family gatherings. And if a loved one has recently died, holidays could usher in more sadness and stress, eventually leading to unprecedented loneliness.
Spending a holiday season that falls after the demise of a loved one could be quite messy and complicated, but you can still enjoy the season in parts. The following are some tips to get through the holidays while grieving.
Discuss the Deceased
The absence of a loved one becomes a lot more glaring when none speaks about them. Most people do the mistake of not talking about a deceased friend or family member when they meet. Instead, you can share stories and memories about them in gatherings of family and friends. Focus more on the funny stories. If smiles and laughter erupt during the discussions, then that’s perfectly acceptable. Those chuckles, in fact, are a completely healthy and normal way to ease your grief and sadness.
Honouring the deceased loved one’s life could mean feeling the obligation to maintain the traditions that were passed down by them to you – for instance, making a specific Christmas meal or New Years cake. But don’t think you are honoring the deceased by performing traditions that you were never interested in. Instead, pick a tradition or two that you fancied and merge them with newer traditions so that you could move on. The newer traditions would, in fact, foster healing and give you the ability to move forward.
Cut Down Seasonal Stressors
The holidays are replete with stressful obligations, such as gift-giving, social gatherings, volunteering and cooking. Cut back on these commitments so that you have some healing space. While completely withdrawing and sitting the holiday season out won’t be a healthy route to take, you may certainly take breaks from obligations or events that cause undue stress. If your office colleagues are looking forward to that special dish you make every year for the holidays and you don’t show up this season, they would understand that you pulled back due to your personal loss.
Keep an Eye Out for Unhealthy Coping Resorts
The holidays could intensify feelings of loss and grief. Therefore, it’s important to know your emotions and how you are reacting to them. Loss of appetite, exhaustion, and feelings of hopelessness and apathy could be signs your grief may be making you vulnerable to depression. This may result in unhealthy behaviors, such as self-harm and excess alcohol consumption.
Your first holiday after losing loved ones can be difficult. But it’s important to not completely give in to the feeling. Take care of yourself. Remembering loved ones and enjoying the holiday seasons tradition can lessen some pain while helping your progress during the grieving. Unhealthy coping techniques, on the other hand, may help you escape the grief and stress temporarily, but once the unhealthy measures’ effects subside, the grief you were running away from would come back to hit you harder.
Try Mental Health Support
If the grief is unbearable, seeking support or treatment is recommended. Be part of support groups, attend faith-community events or lectures and seek professional therapy (if that would help). Contact Kevon Owen at 405-740-1249 or visit https://www.kevonowen.com for a healthy dose of Christian counseling and clinical psychotherapy. Connecting with people who share common experiences would help you chuck isolation, thereby decreasing your chances of falling into depression. Your emotional and mental well-being are too crucial to overlook, particularly when you’re completely down and out and it’s the holidays.