The news for the last month has been heartbreaking. From the mass shootings taking the lives of innocent people completely unaware that their lives were in jeopardy, the terrible deadly wildfires in California, and so much more, I feel like we are all in a state of grief this year as we approach the holidays.
So how do we move on? How are we supposed to celebrate and be happy, when we also feel so sad? If you have lost someone, or like myself, reminded of your grief because of all that has been happening. We have some tips that I truly hope will give you some comfort and help you get through.
Grief can be one of the toughest emotions to handle. When grieving, you may experience a range of emotions, from anger to sadness and from depression to numbness. You may not know where to turn or what you should be doing.
There are many reasons why you may be grieving. It may feel like nothing is going to help. Unfortunately, some people who are grieving may start binge drinking during the holidays. If you have tried using alcohol as a coping mechanism, you probably know that it doesn’t work. In fact, it only makes things worse. But, there are healthy ways of coping with grief during the holidays and throughout the rest of the year.
Acknowledge That Things Are Tough
One of the healthiest ways to cope with grief during the holidays is to acknowledge what's happening. Recognize that there is a lot going on around the holidays. You may realize that you are having a tough time grieving and with the busy times around the holidays, things may become even more difficult.
The sooner you can acknowledge this, the sooner you can quit fighting your feelings It's okay to have a rough time with grieving. It's normal. On the other hand, if you don’t acknowledge that the holidays may be tough for you, you may end up doing something you regret, because you aren’t handling grief very well.
Let Go of Some Traditions
If you are like other people, you may celebrate many traditions surrounding the holidays. These traditions may include going Black Friday shopping, hanging out with friends, hosting holiday parties, and other traditions.
If you are the main cook in your family, consider allowing others to take over or try ordering some of the food.
If you are dealing with grief and are struggling to maintain several traditions, you can easily become overwhelmed. It may be time to end one or more of these traditions, at least temporarily. While doing so may be tough, it can help you take the time you need to grieve. You could even replace a tradition with one that honors the loved one you have lost.
Make Plans and Stick to Them
Another way to cope with grief around the holidays is to make plans and stick to them. If you are facing the holidays without any plans or organization, the stress of your uncertain plans can add to your grief and emotional distress.
You may feel like you can’t find stability and everything seems chaotic. To remedy this, try planning your schedule and organizing your life. The organization can help you prevent feelings of panic during the holidays. A schedule can help you to create a balance between the time you spend with others and the time you take for yourself, giving you time to grieve and address other emotional needs.
Make Honesty Your Best Friend Not Grief
If you are dealing with grief, especially around the holidays, make sure you are honest with everyone. There may be some people who ask you to go out. Some people may want you to be just as busy as they are. However, if you can’t deal with the activity, just be honest with them.
Let people know that you need time to grieve and that you need some downtime. If they don’t understand, that isn’t your problem. You must take care of yourself and cope in ways that are healthy for you. Others don’t get to decide how you do that. You don’t have to be rude, but honesty can help others understand what you are experiencing.
Remember That Not Everyone Grieves the Same Way
If you let your family members know what you need around the holidays, don’t expect them to handle things the same way. Maybe everyone in your family is grieving. Even if you need to end traditions or schedule more alone time, that doesn’t mean everyone else will. Be understanding of everyone’s own personal choices and grieving processes.
The holidays can be tough on anyone who is grieving, especially if it is the anniversary of a loved one’s death. The busy times around the holidays can create stress and that can cause the grieving process to be even more difficult. There are healthy ways you can learn to cope with grief around the holidays.
Adopting the above tips can help you with the grieving process. If you don’t find healthy ways to grieve, you may end up spiraling. That won’t be good for you or anyone in your life. Remember, everyone grieves in their own ways. Finding the best and healthiest ways to grieve around the holidays and throughout the rest of the year will ultimately help you live a healthier, happier life.
BIO: Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.