The Grief That Comes With Holidays
How Do You Handle Difficult Holidays?
Do you find yourself dreading the thought of holidays? Wishing they would pass like another day. Knowing that when they arrive, they bring about feelings of sadness, anger, guilt or a slew of different emotions. Do you find that they are a reminder of a distant relationship? Or maybe a painful reminder of the fact that someone special to you is no longer here.
Social Media can be a harsh reminder that these holidays are supposed to be happy and that they are being celebrated. Everyone posts about how special their mom or dad are, but you haven't spoken to that parent in a while due to strain in your relationship. Maybe you were robbed of the celebration, because that person is no longer here. You wish you could have lunch with them, enjoy one more moment with them. oh what you would give. Maybe its a post about how everyone is so grateful to have the day off for memorial day, but that is the day that reminds you of the loss of someone you loved.
Do these moments feel isolating? Everyone is happy, except for you? Do you struggle to let yourself be sad on a holiday that should be celebrated?
It Is Okay For You To Grieve
Irregardless of what everyone else is feeling, you have the right to feel what you feel. You have the right to grieve in the way that you need to. Whether it is a lost or strained relationship or you can't physically spend the holiday with this special person because they have passed away.
Grieving is different for everyone and it is important that you do it in the way that you individually need to.
Let It Out
Give yourself permission to grieve. Whether you are okay with it coming out or not, it needs to. We as humans are not made to hold everything in. Imagine that you are a bottle. As time goes on, you find yourself holding emotions in more and more, because the thought of letting them out feels vulnerable, embarrassing, and just down-right uncomfortable. However, the more that this bottle gets filled and the more that life shakes it up, the closer that it gets to blowing the lid and exploding. Emotions are intended to be felt and it is a necessary part of life to let them out. If not, they will find a way out and usually this is much more overwhelming than if they were to have come out little by little, as the emotions were felt.
Take Care of Yourself
If you were given a scale from 0 (Not well) - 10 (Very well) on how well you take care of yourself during these difficult days, how do you think you would rank? These days can be exhausting mentally and emotionally. Sometimes it can feel like you just do not have the energy to do anything. You know that you are struggling, but you can barely make it through the day, let alone think about taking care of yourself. Part of taking care of yourself though can be giving yourself permission to grieve. Not expecting much out of yourself that day. Giving yourself a day to just be sad.
Maybe it means that you do something special for yourself or maybe you just need to be at home for the day. Maybe you take some time to feel close to the person that you lost by writing a letter to them. Maybe you are angry with that person, so you get some of your true feelings out on paper (this does not have to be structured -- it can simply be writing words down, bullet points, etc. -- it can literally be whatever you need it to be). Maybe you do some journaling about where you are at that day. Whatever route you take, this grieving process looks different for everyone. Therefore, it is important that you cater the day to your individual needs.
Reach Out For Support
You do not have to face the holidays alone. Don't be afraid to reach out for support in the way that you need. Maybe it is calling a close friend or family member just to talk. Maybe it means getting out of the house for lunch with a friend simply to not be alone all day. Maybe it is about having a few friends over to your house to help remember this person. Maybe it is about celebrating their life.
There are people that care and want to help support you, you just have to reach out and ask.
“Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone's hand is the beginning of a journey.
Maybe you have put off your grieving process because it feels too overwhelming and painful, or you just haven't felt like anything will help. Have you considered reaching out to a therapist or support group and how that might be helpful in your grieving process?
How can you advocate for your needs around holidays and other difficult days?
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Nurtured Hearts Counseling's Blog
I am a Licensed Therapist in Lone Tree, Colorado and my goal for this blog is to explore taboo subjects that no one is willing to talk about and I am eager to bring awareness to.