You hoped and prayed, you wished on a star, you stuck your head in the sand, you ignored your calendar, and despite all your best attempts to escape the holiday season, it's still here. Good effort, but unfortunately time has this really annoying way of marching on whether you like it or not.
When it comes to grief, the holidays can mean many things. For some, it's a welcome time of year, bringing comfort, memories, and family. For others, it's a painful reminder of the loss of loved ones and tough life changes, coupled with practical and financial stressors. For many, it is a combination of both - that bittersweet combination of comfort and pain that grievers come to know all too well.
We have been sharing some older posts on social media to help you get mentally prepped for the season, but in case you missed them we wanted to share a couple of our tips, articles, podcasts, course and other resources to keep you going this holiday.
Thanksgiving Grief Tip One: Be prepared for grief triggers.
They are everywhere around the holidays, it is just a fact. Anticipating triggers and thinking of constructive ideas for coping with them can sometimes make them a little easier to manage in the moment. If you want to start thinking about some holiday triggers, check out this post (click on the image to go to the article!):
Thanksgiving Grief Tip Two: Seek gratitude.
Okay, I know that seeking gratitude is an overused concept that feels kind of cliche these days, but the bottom line is that it works. For real, there is research. Don't trust us? Trust Harvard. Gratitude helps us shift our focus so we start noticing some of the positive things that exist around us, rather than exclusively the negative. Click on the image below for a Thanksgiving gratitude challenge.
Thanksgiving Grief Tip Three: Look for tips and tools to cope and find balance this holiday.
We currently have a totally free e-course (that also happens to be totally self-paced) to help you connect with others, learn some new tips and tools for coping and remembering your loved one, and face some of those complicated holiday feelings head-on. We suggest you give it a try if you are feeling anxiety about the coming holiday season. Click the image below to register, then start whenever you're ready.
Thanksgiving Grief Tip Four: Allow yourself to take a break from togetherness if you need to.
Plan to get some space from the togetherness when you need it. Family members are great, friends are great, but it can all get to be a bit much when you are emotionally depleted and muddling through the holidays. It is important to remember that you need time and space to recharge your batteries.
You may feel a lot of pressure to participate in holiday events, but try to be aware of your limits and needs. Thinking through your events and creating plans in advance to take breaks (or leave if you need to) can make a huge difference. Get more info and tips for coping with togetherness by clicking the image below.
Thanksgiving Grief Tip Five: Create something that reminds you of your loved one.
The benefits of this are two-fold. First, you get to use some creativity, which can help with reducing stress and coping with tough emotions. Second, it allows you to honor and remember your loved one. Win-win. What you decide to create is up to you. We specifically created memory lanterns with kids one year for Thanksgiving and the whole time I was left thinking, adults would love this too! So if you don't have any other ideas this one is fun and easy for all ages, You can check out the link below.
Thanksgiving Grief Tip Six: Be prepared to regroup.
Holiday disasters happen. You may try sooooo hard this year to create a happy holiday for yourself and your family, only to have something unexpected happen that makes it feel less than the day you expected. Sometimes this is well outside of your control and all you can do is look for ways to push forward. As the old saying goes, hope for the best but plan for the worst.
Getting yourself mentally prepared for the emotions of the day, as well as preparing how you might handle something that doesn't go well, can be hugely helpful in getting through the day when it comes. Our family had a very rough Thanksgiving a couple of years ago and we definitely had to put regrouping in action. I wrote all about it, which you can check out by clicking the link below:
Okay, we hope one or two of the ideas above help you to get through the next few days and the rest of the holiday season! While we have your attention, we wanted to make a quick request and a quick announcement for those of you who don't follow us on social media.
We wrote a book!
After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief
for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible,
What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss is for people experiencing any type of loss. This book discusses some of the most common grief experiences and breaks down psychological concepts to help you understand your thoughts and emotions. It also shares useful coping tools, and helps the reader reflect on their unique relationship with grief and loss.
You can find What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss wherever you buy books: