Friday, December 22, 2023

Coping with Grief During the Festive Season: A Guide to Self-Care For The Holidays

Surviving the Holidays with Heart: A Chill Guide to Self-Care

Hey there, friends! The holidays are supposed to be all twinkly lights, good vibes, and cozy moments, right? Well, not for everyone. Sometimes, they're a stark reminder of what's missing, and grief hits a bit harder during this season. So, let's talk about it and share some self-care tips to make it through.

1. Reflecting on Loss:
First things first – it's totally cool not to feel the holiday cheer 24/7. Seriously, who made those rules anyway? If you're like me, missing loved ones for decades, guess what? You're not alone. Embrace your feelings, and forget about feeling guilty. I gave that up a long time ago. My parents are gone, and even though it's been over 20 years, it SUCKS. I think that's totally normal, and I no longer feel bad that my grief isn't on anyone else's "timeline". 

2. Set Those Boundaries:
Boundaries are your holiday BFFs. If you're not feeling that office party or your neighbor's festive soirée, it's okay to hit pause. Your well-being comes first. Advocate for yourself, and don't let anyone guilt-trip you. We all know that certain situations can be harder than others during the holidays, so don't be afraid to skip out on ones that you KNOW are going to be too much for you. 

3. Craft New Traditions:
I know, I know – "new traditions" sounds like a cliché, but trust me, it can really help. Start some rituals that honor your loved ones. Like a special ornament or revisiting a favorite book. In my world, reading "Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree" brings back sweet memories. It's like a warm hug from the past, and I even bought the 1963 version from Ebay just so it would be just like my childhood. We also made an ornament of a picture of my parents, and every year, I hang it up after all the other ornaments are hung. It's kind of a comforting end to the tree decorating now, and the kids even look forward to it. 

4. Get Your Squad:
No one should navigate the holiday blues alone. Round up your friends, family, or find solace in support groups. And hey, if online groups or a chat with a therapist feels right, go for it. Sometimes, strength comes from your people. Bottom line, don't be afraid to reach out or to talk to people about how you're feeling. 

5. Chillin' with Self-Care:
Holiday exhaustion is a real thing. Take a breather with some low-key self-care – reflect quietly, dive into cozy activities, catch those Zs, meditate a bit, or express yourself creatively. You gotta treat yourself – it's not a luxury; it's a must. I find that my grief is a million times worse in those moments when I am stressed out or exhausted, so I've learned to be extra easy on myself during the holidays. 

6. Remember & Celebrate:
Keep the memory of your loved ones alive during the holidays. Maybe support a cause they cared about, create a scrapbook, or binge-watch old home videos. Volunteering in their honor? It's a win-win. For me, I always try to do something during the holiday season that I just KNOW would make my parents proud, and it always makes me feel a little better. 

7. Flexibility is Key:
Grief doesn't follow a script, especially during the holidays. Some days are smooth; others, not so much. Cut yourself some slack. Be easy, and remember, you're doing your best. 

Closing Thoughts:
Here's the real deal – it's A-OK not to ride the holiday hype. Your grief is legit, and these tips are your toolkit for cruising through with a bit of flair. Need a chat or got extra tips? Drop a comment below because, hey, we're all in this together. Sending virtual hugs and good vibes your way! 🌟

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