Navigating the holidays can be challenging and filled with anxiety and sadness for many people. Whether you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, struggling with loneliness, depression, or some other difficult life event, this season can bring an onslaught of painful emotions.
Here are a few tips that may be useful in helping you manage the holidays:
Make time for self-care. Taking care of yourself during the holidays can help relieve anxiety and stress. Do something special like getting a massage, try exercising, praying, meditating, taking a relaxing bath, or other ways of pampering and caring for your well-being.
Don’t isolate yourself from others. While it may be necessary to pull away for short periods of time to be alone with your emotions and for restoration, it’s important to spend time and receive support from family and friends who love and care about you.
Honor your feelings and where you are on your grief journey. Don’t compare what you’re feeling or experiencing with anyone else. There is no timeline for grief so be patient and compassionate with yourself.
Keep holiday plans simple. Don’t feel pressured to attend every event you’re invited to or to do things the same way you have always done them. It’s okay to take a break, slow down, be flexible, and adjust your plans or traditions if you need to. This may help you avoid becoming overwhelmed.
Find ways to incorporate your loved one who passed into your holiday activities. Make their favorite dish, tell uplifting stories, light a candle, or do something that is meaningful and brings you comfort.
Remember to include your small children in the plans and help them express their emotions. Children process grief differently and may struggle with expressing their feelings of loss. Allowing them to talk about their feelings and including them in planning holiday activities can help them express their grief in positive ways.
Talk with a pastor, counselor, or a trusted family member or friend who can provide support and help during difficult times. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to reach out to trusted people.
As you're entering this season, make time to nurture yourself emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Being kind, present, and patient with yourself often reveals moments and opportunities to enjoy time with family and friends.
As the holiday season approaches, I pray you're surrounded by love and support, and that you’ll find hope and gratefulness in the meaning of this season. I wish you comfort, peace, and joy.