Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Coping with Grief this Holiday Season

Do you wish you could fast forward through the holidays? Many grieving people would answer yes. Here are some reasons why you might feel this way:

  • You are sad and find it difficult to be around people who are celebrating
  • You worry that you will cry or bring the celebration down
  • You feel overwhelmed or stressed
  • You want to have some alone time
  • You do things because you feel obligated rather than because you want to do them

Consider the following healthy strategies:

  • Acknowledge your sadness and limit your time spent at the celebration
  • Give yourself permission to cry; you are responsible to others, not for them
  • Identify what stresses you, implement changes, and find ways to relax
  • Honor your time to be alone, but avoid isolating yourself
  • Decide which rituals you value and what is no longer working; try something different

You are not alone in your grief. Ask for help and get the support you need. Surround yourself with people who understand and respect your loss. Limit time with those who deplete you. Avoid unhealthy coping techniques such as masking your true feelings, depending on alcohol or other substances, watching too much television, spending excessive time on the computer, overeating or overspending. Remind yourself that practicing self care is not being selfish. Empower yourself by coping with the holidays and your feelings, rather than choosing to avoid them. Be mindful of ways that you may help others and give gratitude for three things.

All the best,