It’s the most wonderful time of the year… but maybe not for you. In fact, with the loss you have experienced, all this merrymaking may be more than you can stand! You’re not alone. The holidays can be especially hard on those who have suffered a significant loss in the previous year. It seems the whole world is celebrating and all you want to do is skip to January 2. I have been there. It can be a lonely place. But there is hope. The intensity of this year will likely fade and eventually you can find joy again in the blessings of the season. But for now, here are a few tips to help you through these days.
Don’t be surprised if your feelings keep changing: Grief is funny that way. You can laugh or feel moments of joy one minute, then rebound into the darkness of depression the next. As your emotions vacillate, make allowances for them. You need to express both the highs and the lows to move through this time successfully.
Have a good cry: You need to give yourself time alone to let go of some of those tears. I believe there is a certain number of tears that must be cried for you to heal fully, from the inside out. In fact, if you try to push them back too often, they will hinder your healing, making it harder for you to know what is really bothering you down the road.
Take a nap: Grief can be exhausting. Emotions sap your strength so that you cannot do as much as usual without feeling really tired. So take a nap! It’s amazing how much better you will feel when you give your body its much needed rest. It can help to change your whole perspective and help you to feel some of the joy happening around you.
Find a friend: One of the hardest things about grief is the isolation it fosters… both self-inflicted and from those who don’t know how to relate to someone in such pain. But finding someone you can be honest with will help immensely. It helps to talk about the person you have lost and about how different things will be from now on. Reading the words of others can also help to articulate your feelings and bring some relief. Steer away from those who try to hurry you back to normal. Pretending tends to compound the grief instead of help it to go away. If you are unable to find someone to talk with who can let you be real with them, get a journal and start writing your feelings down. You will be amazed at how much your own words can help to heal your heart.
If you listen closely to some of those old Christmas carols playing on the radio, you will notice that some acknowledge the pain and suffering in this life. This is done to highlight the amazing answer God sent in His son, Jesus. He is with us through our darkest times, shining His light and comforting us with His presence. Draw near to Him and He will carry you through this time and restore your hope in the days to come.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5
For more ideas on handling your grief during the holidays, check out the following blog: http://www.griefshare.org/holidays/articles/survivaltips