Grieving Through the Holidays

“Happy Holidays!” … As Thanksgiving quickly approaches we will find ourselves in the midst of preparing for the number one season with words that are full of joy: “merry, happy, jolly, joy, etc.”

But what about the millions of people who find the Holiday Season very difficult? These words and this time can be very difficult for countless people. If you find yourself in this camp (as I have in the past) this blog is for you. I pray that these tips will be helpful for you as you navigate this very difficult season.
If you have recently lost a loved one, the holidays may not feel like a joyful time. A family therapist shares ideas to get through this difficult season.

1) Grieving takes a lot of energy.

Therefore be gentle with yourself. Treat yourself like you would treat a friend…be kind to yourself.

Try this today: Write out, “I am a precious child of God,” (or “Treat yourself like your best friend,”) and place it on the mirror in your bathroom or bedroom. Or, load this message in your smartphone. Read it every day. This may help you to be gentle with yourself.

2) Use your time wisely.

Spend time with people who listen and validate your feelings, and give yourself permission not to spend time with those who don’t know what to say or those who say insensitive things.

Try this today: Call a friend who will listen, and talk with him or her. Let them listen to you and let them validate you. Also, give yourself permission not to talk with people who don’t understand.

3) Remember a good thing that your loved one would want for you.

So many times when I was grieving the loss of my mom (in 1995) or my dad (in 2005) I would remind myself: “What would Mom want for me right now?” or, “What would Dad want for me right now?” Because we believe our loved ones are with God we know that they would want us to feel the feelings of grief but not get consumed by those feelings. Our loved ones would want us to know that faith tells us we will see them again and that in the meantime God can heal us through the love of others.

Try this today:
When you are sad, tell yourself it is okay to be sad; it is okay to cry. Then remind yourself of a good thing that your loved one would want for you.

4) Consider changing holiday routines.

Some traditions may be comforting, so keep them. But some traditions may be difficult, and you may lack the energy to do them. So give yourself permission to change them if you think God is calling you do to that.

Try this today:
Talk with a safe loved one who can help you decide what rituals to keep and which ones to change.

I pray that these four tips will help the many people who will be grieving through the upcoming holiday season.

For more tips on grieving through the Holidays please read my other two blogs: Grieving through the Holidays: Part 2 and Grieving through the Holidays: Part 3

> You may also find this article helpful: What to say to a friend who has lost a close loved one


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