5 Tips for Turning Holiday Grief into Optimism
Posted: 12/4/2017 2:25 PM by
The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, but not everyone embraces the season. Those who suffer grief over the death of a loved one often dread the holidays, and feel relief when the New Year rolls around and the season is finally over. Here are five tips to consider for turning grief into optimism for the coming year.
Allow Grief In
Trying to dodge grief at holiday time is normal, but it won’t help you heal, according to grief experts. Letting yourself feel the pain of loss will. You don’t have to be upbeat and accommodating just because it’s the season to be jolly. Better to focus on getting through each day in the way that works best for you, whether that means participating in every holiday event or only a few. Never worry what others think; true friends and family understand your struggle.
Honor the Lost Loved One
Shifting your focus from your grief to memories of your lost loved one can be uplifting, and there’s no better time than the New Year to do it. Why not start a memory book about the loved one, using stories shared by family members at your holiday gathering? Even simple gestures, like lighting a candle or posting a tribute online, can bring optimism to you and others during the holiday season.
Grief coupled with the stress of the holidays can be hard on your physical health. The last thing you want is to get sick during a time that’s already difficult. Make an effort to eat right, get rest, and exercise during the holiday season. Focus on a plan that promotes your physical and mental well-being. If you find yourself feeling “stuck” in grief and depression and have trouble getting out of bed, consider speaking with a counsellor regularly for a few weeks to help you identify and release your feelings. Get a workout partner or look into hiring a personal trainer to ensure you get enough exercise to release endorphins, your body’s own “feel good” chemicals. Set achievable fitness goals and reward yourself once they are accomplished.
Know You’re Not Alone
You may find comfort and hope by helping someone else cope with their challenges. Find a place to volunteer time in your community at a Food Bank, church or other charity. You’ll get to work with a team of like-minded people, and feel good about making a contribution to others.
Plan the New Year
One good thing about the holiday season for the grief-stricken: it’s short. Before you know it, you’ll be facing the New Year. But then what? How about putting a plan in place for January. A new year is a time for fresh beginnings. Lean on that philosophy and consider something inspiring you’d like to do in January–learn a new language, start a remodeling project, or adopt a rescue dog. With a plan in place, you can anticipate the New Year with encouragement rather than gloom.
Grief can make the holidays anything but joyful. Don’t let a heavy heart smother your hope. Follow the above tips, and turn grief into optimism that will carry you into every New Year.