Do you feel the holidays seem to have a way of bringing up difficult emotions that we so often try to forget? If so; I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone and that grief, especially during the holidays, is normal.
One thing that most of us all have in common across the world is the experience of loss. Loss of a loved one, an opportunity, time, money, a relationship…you name it!
Unfortunately, in these past two years we have been hit by loss in a way that we weren’t expecting and as we near the holidays, the impact of those loses can make being joyful
and thankful a little harder.
You know the old saying, “you can run, but you can’t hide”. That’s how grief works! You may be able to run for a while, yet it will eventually find you and making the decision to face it will probably be one of the hardest things you will have to do.
While facing grief during the holidays can be incredibly difficult, the good news is it’s not impossible to overcome and I’m here to help teach you how to do just that.
Before we dive into how to get through grief during the holidays, it’s first important to understand why it’s so difficult to do in the first place.
The active decision to overcome grief can be hard, as we live in a society that focuses on positivity and “good vibes” which makes grief become less attractive.
Psychologist Carl Jung, talks about the concept of “shadow self”, defining it to be “the parts of our personality that we don’t want to admit to having”. At first glance the “shadow self” can be seen as negative, yet when you take a deeper look, the true intent behind it, is to help us learn how to embrace and accept ourselves, so that we can confront what we are hiding from in order to live better and whole lives. Hiding from our grief can ultimately lead to more suffering,
which only perpetuates the negative narrative that grief holds. Uncovering our true selves also requires us to look into our pain.
This year you have an opportunity to take back a little bit of what you have lost, and make a choice to confront your pain and start moving towards your healing.
A favorite quote of mine by Brene Brown is “We run from grief because loss scares us, yet our hearts reach toward grief because the broken parts want to mend”.
My ultimate goal is to help you get through this holiday season so we can all mend together!
Below are my 5 ways to cope with Grief during the holidays:
- Give yourself permission to grieve in your own way: Find healthy coping mechanisms that move you toward healing, not away from it. Whether you enjoy exercise, mediation, reading, etc…find ways to prioritize your mental health so that you can grieve in a healthy way!
- Be patient with yourself: There’s no time line on grief or when you should be over something, respect your process. It may take you longer than someone else to overcome the intense emotions that come with grieving. Each person handles grief differently and how long it takes you to process things is personal to your experience.
- Set healthy boundaries with others: Boundaries are a way for you to care for yourself and others at the same time. It’s ok to say no to people in order to prioritize yourself and how you are feeling during this season. Those that love and care for you will understand.
- Honor the old traditions and start new ones: One of the best ways to keep your loved memories alive is to continue sharing the holiday traditions that make you happy. It’s also just as important to be present and start making new memories with those you love rather than live entirely in the past. It’s important to have balance!
- Support: Lean on those you trust and invite them into your space. It’s okay to ask for help! We all need community and the support of those we love when going through a hard time. Those that care about you will be there for you through not only the good times but also the really difficult ones too!
There is no order in which to best follow these steps. As long as you make a conscious effort to practice each of the steps you will notice a difference in how it feels to show up for yourself during a time that can be incredibly challenging both emotionally and mentally. Remember that you are not alone during this holiday season by grieving what could have been.
Grieving during the holidays can feel incredibly difficult but you don’t have to go at it alone. If you find yourself struggling to be happy, move forward with your life and be the best version of yourself that you can be, Solid Foundations Therapy is here to help! Learn more at solidfoundationstherapy.com or give us a call at 630-633-8532 today!