Let’s be honest: the Holidays aren’t always happy and cheerful, especially if you have lost a loved one, a job, a relationship, or a pet. The Holidays are full of stress and expectations and most everyone has trouble dealing with this in healthy, healing ways.
Ever since my Mom passed away on Dec. 3, 2013, I have felt especially challenged at this time of year. I know it’s been 4 years, but most people grieve an average of 5-8 years after a significant loss. In reality grieving never ends, it just changes. I am happy to say that I am beginning to embrace a new perspective, and find positive ways to thrive this time of year.
Here are a few suggestions for taking care of YOU during this time, because that is what grieving is really about, taking care of YOU.
- Acknowledge your beliefs, thoughts and feelings. I can’t tell you how important this one step is. Becoming mindful of your feelings and the thoughts and beliefs that led to them, and then releasing them, is a powerful way to release the grief. For example, I needed to honor my sadness, guilt and anger (common initial reactions to grief) in order to begin to reframe my perspective: my Mom would not want me to be sad, she’d want me to bake those cookies for the family that she always loved to bake. It is a way to honor and remember her.
- Carve out time for YOU, planning for things that nurture you: a mani and pedi, massage, Reiki healing session, going out in nature, pray, meditate, light a candle, set a place for the person at the holiday table. These things are far better than drowning your feelings in alcohol, food, isolation, or other unhealthy behaviors.
- Don’t be pressured to go to a party if you don’t feel you want to go. Don’t feel you have to do the same Holiday routine you did before unless you really want to. Be open to honoring the Holidays differently and be honest with others about it without guilt. Ask for other’s support. Be gentle with yourself. My family has changed our Holiday routine, every year has been a little different, and it’s OK. We still carry on the love we have for each other, that’s the most important thing. Mom would want that.
- Lastly, accept the loss, and the opportunities and blessings it brings. The reality is that life will not be the same. Allow it to teach you, to change you. Grief invites us to reorganize our priorities, to appreciate the life we have and the people we love. We can find ways to support others in their journey, thus helping ourselves at the same time. This is how I have moved through my own grief by doing workshops and writing my book. Everyone can find a way to heal and accept the blessings that are there for us along the journey. And look for signs that your loved one is near: a dream, a whif of perfume, a song, a cardinal, a butterfly. They miss us as much as we miss them.
I hope this blog has helped you to have the courage and strength to take care of yourself through this Holiday Season. Please reach out to me if you would like to, write a post here or go to my Facebook page “Chaplain Geri Cappabianca”, leave a post and I will PM you. You are NOT ALONE! I will be praying for you! Love and blessings always!