Dealing with Grief Over the Holidays

Grief can come in many forms over the Christmas Season.  Whether the loss of a loved one through death, a failed marriage, a move, or a family dispute; as humans, when we experience loss, we grieve.  Never is this felt stronger than during the holidays when we recall more joyous times with those whom we love and have lost.

However, as challenging as these emotions may be, we don’t have to surrender to them.  Here are some techniques that work to focus on the joy, rather than the sadness we may experience during the Christmas Holidays.

  1. Make New Traditions

There are many new traditions we can do to raise our spirits.

  •  Start a Secret Santa exchange with friends.
  • Alter the way you decorate your home.
  • Get new ornaments that represent your current life.
  • Make fun holiday cards for friends and family.
  • Go to the mall and get your photo taken on Santa’s lap!
  1. Savor the Old Traditions
  • Decorating the tree can take us down memory lane because there are so many ornaments that represent times and people who may no longer be with us.  Enjoy and savor this experience and the beautiful memories they evoke. 
  • Get old recipes from parents and grandparents and make some of the old time favorites you may recall from childhood.
  • Decorate cut out cookies with children.  
  1. Volunteer Your Time
  • Go to a local shelter and walk dogs.
  • Find ways to help feed the homeless.
  •  Help a charity by wrapping gifts at the mall.
  • Visit a nursing home with homemade gifts.
  • Go to the cancer wing at a local children’s hospital and read holiday stories to them.

4)   Host a Party or Gathering

  •  Make holiday cookies.
  •  Be creative and make unusual gingerbread houses.
  • Host a holiday wine tasting with friends.

5)   Homemade Gifts

The holidays do not need to bankrupt us and creative homemade gifts can mean the most to people.

  • Make special ornaments.
  • Construct a family art or photograph collage.
  • Make a photo book as write your own story.
  • Make soy candles with holiday scents.

6)    Outdoor Activities 

  • Go to a local outdoor ice rink or roller skating rink. (depending on where you live)
  • Participate in sledding or tobogganing.
  • Take a drive through neighborhoods to see the holiday lights at night.
  • Wander around outdoor malls and enjoy the decorations.

When you feel sad during this holiday season, allow the feelings to surface, but do not sit with them and make them a cup of hot coco; for this is when sadness turns into depression.  Remember, you are NOT your emotions, for they are ever changing and are not who you are, but only something you are feeling at any given time.

If however, you do find yourself getting into a dark space, reach out to someone for help.  None of us are really ever alone, and often by helping others, we experience the greatest amount of joy.

May you have a blessed, prosperous and loving holiday season.