The holidays have begun. While you are grieving the death of a loved one, the holidays may feel unbearable and you might feel like hibernating for a few months.
Have you already come through the High Holy Days, Birthdays, or Anniversary dates and feel tired or nervous about grieving through more holidays?
Here are some ideas to help you make it through the season:
* What traditions are the most important?
Taking one holiday at a time, what were the most important traditions to your loved one? Were those parts also important to you? Do you want to keep up with those traditions or create new ones?
* Talk it over with your family.
What traditions you would like to skip this year or ones you would like to keep. Can everyone agree on a tradition to keep and share?
* Do you have to decorate?
Do you find joy in decorating or is it a chore? Maybe your loved one was the one who loved decorating?
Maybe this is a year to Not decorate? Or maybe this is a year to place a few important decorations in honor of your loved one? Or maybe this is a year to make a new start, with new things?
Sometimes it is the anticipation and fears of what could happen that are the worse part of the holidays, but once the holiday comes and goes, you realize you did much better than you imagined.
Tips to Survive Family Gatherings
* Take Inventory.
Take inventory of who you want to spend holiday time with and who you don’t- quote by Dr. Alan Wolfelt in his book Healing Your Traumatized Heart: 100 Practical Ideas.
* Create a Plan A and an escape, Plan B.
Have a plan in place for going to the gatherings. Limit what you need to do to prepare for the gathering and think about how much energy you will need to attend and participate in the gathering.
Then have a plan B. We often we go with good intentions or we go because our family expects us too and then we get there and realize, “I just want to cry.” Make an escape plan! Is there someone who can take you home? Or is there a way you can say your regards, then scoot out and take care of yourself? Or can you cry with the people you are with? That is the absolute best! To be in a place where you can be you, cry, let it out and receive affirmations..NOT platitudes, but true comfort.