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Handle Holiday Grief

Handling Holiday GriefGrief is something that affects all of us in one way or another. It could be we are struggling with a loss or someone we know and love could be grieving. Experiencing special events without our loved one can be a challenge.

The subconscious part of the brain remembers our time with them as if it were yesterday. We can experience a smell or fragrance, walk into a location you frequented or see common friends and all those feelings come back to you. Your body doesn’t forget.

Unfortunately, grief can have ill effects on us and can take it’s toll. There are physiological symptoms that we’ve never experienced before such as higher blood pressure, digestion issues, pain and stiffness. Headaches, loss of appetite as well as sleep issues and fatigue can also affect those suffering from grief.

We can also have emotional aspects of grief that could include anxiety, frustration, sadness, anger and even sometimes guilt. All of the expressions of our grief whether physical or emotional, are normal.

But what can we do? Get your questions answered first hand by attending our event Grief and the Holidays, December 1 at 6 p.m. (click here to register you and a loved one)

But until then, here are a few suggestions I found from www.grief.com that could help your holidays be a little easier for you or someone you love, when grieving.

  1. Have a Plan A/Plan B – Plan A is you go to the Thanksgiving, Christmas Day or Christmas Eve dinner with family and friends. If it doesn’t feel right, have your plan B ready. Plan B may be a movie you both liked or a photo album to look through or a special place you went to together. Many people find that when they have Plan B in place, just knowing it is there is enough.
  2.  Cancel the Holiday all together. Yes, you can cancel the Holiday. If you are going through the motions and feeling nothing, cancel them. Take a year off. They will come around again. For others, staying involved with the Holidays is a symbol of life continuing. Let the Holiday routine give you a framework during these tough times.
  3.  Try the Holidays in a new way. Grief has a unique way of giving us the permission to really evaluate what parts of the Holidays you enjoy and what parts you don’t. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to handle the Holidays in grief. You have to decide what is right for you and do it. You have every right to change your mind, even a few times. Friends and family members may not have a clue how to help you through the Holidays and you may not either.
  4.  It is very natural to feel you may never enjoy the Holidays again. They will certainly never be the same as they were. However, in time, most people are able to find meaning again in the traditions as a new form of the Holiday Spirit grows inside of them. Even without grief, our friends and relatives often think they know how our Holidays should look, what “the family” should and shouldn’t do.

Do you have any tips that have helped you or someone you love? We welcome your comments below. This time of year has it’s own challenges and grief can compound them. Take some time for yourself and join us Tuesday, December 1 at 6 p.m. We would love to see you there!