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How to Deal with Grief During the Holidays

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” sings Andy Williams in his iconic Christmas carol. And I have to agree with him, except for when you are going through a grieving time. Then, I’m sorry Andy, but it’s the worst time of the year. And I genuinely feel for people who are going through a tough time during the holidays, because I’ve been one of them on a few different occasions. 

When I was 18, my grandpa passed on December 24th. You can imagine that year our Christmas day was anything but merry. We spent it at a funeral home. Another depressing holidays happened in the second year I was in LA, I was going through a breakup and couldn’t take the time off from work to fly back home. Or the worst one by far, two Christmas’ ago, six months after my dad had passed.

How do you survive this time of the year during which you are almost forced to be joyful when that is the last thing you want to do? I wish I had a secret formula – I don’t. However, here are some tips that could help you go through it:

1) Think of these days as ordinary days.

The sun rises and sets like any other given day; the only differences are that people have less money in their wallets after all the shopping at Macy’s… So, enjoy the silver linings.

2) Volunteer for the less fortunate.

Going to a shelter to feed the homeless or going to an orphanage and reading to the kids will not only make you feel better, but it will also help you put things into perspective.

3) Treat yourself and take that time to reflect.

Maybe go away for a few days to a retreat to Sedona, or just curl up in bed and read a book. Adversity is actually a great teacher if you are open to the lesson. Seek that lesson.

4) Don’t ignore your grief.

The more you try to escape pain, the more it will pursue you. Eventually you are going to have to face it and sit down with it. Even though it might be scary, that is one of the most important steps in the healing process. And understand that although wounds will eventually heal, the scars will always be there. And that’s not only okay, but part of a healthy lifestyle. 

5) Reach out to friends.

If you really are going through a lot and can’t take it, it’s totally okay to ask for help. People who love you and know you are going through a bad time will most likely invite you to join them during these days, so don’t be ashamed and just do it.

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