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5 Ways to Help With Grief Around the Holidays

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As Christmas approaches, I know how hard it is for some people. From trying to buy all the gifts for your loved ones, to decorating the house and tree, to creating the perfect Hallmark Christmas. Some of us have lost loved ones, and this may be the first year without them. It’s overwhelming, hard and unbelievably painful. There can be tons of unmet expectations, hurt feelings, anger and guilt. Remember to breathe and try not to stress too much. We are all human and just trying to do our best. Remember to check up on your loved ones and friends as this may be a hard time for them as well.

Grief is hard all on its own, but it’s even harder around the holidays. There’s something especially hard about grief and unmet expectations that tend to linger a little longer than usual around this time of year.

Here are five things you can do to make this season a little easier on you as Christmas approaches.

1. Give yourself some grace.
Giving yourself some grace may be the best present you can give yourself or someone else this holiday season. No one is asking you to be perfect. Take the pressure off of yourself and relax. Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, bake something, go for a walk, look at picture, listen to your favorite music.  Remember, you are only human and you can only do so much before you begin to sacrifice your mental health. Remember, these feelings won’t last forever.

2. Surround yourself with safe people.
Surround yourself with people who love and care about you. Surround yourself with people who are safe and are aware of your grief around the holidays. You don’t have to suffer alone, especially if you are hurting. Remember you are loved even when you don’t feel like you are.

3. Allow yourself to feel all the feelings.
One thing I’ve found very helpful is allowing myself a certain amount of time to sit with my pain and then move on. Create a safe space for you to feel all the feelings. Set a timer, and hang out with those feelings for an allotted time. Feel them, cry with them, speak to them and then move on to something different. Something you enjoy. Something that makes your heart happy. Something that brings you life.

4. Breathe.
I know this is easier said than done, but don’t forget to give yourself some time to breathe. The holidays can be overwhelming and very stressful, especially when it comes to being around people who may not understand your current journey. Take deep belly breaths, in through your nose and out of your mouth, as there are so many benefits to this type of breathing. Try it and see how you feel.

5. Rejoice.
Don’t forget to rejoice. Look at how far you’ve come since last year, last month or even last week. Give yourself permission to celebrate your journey and all that you’ve done to keep going. Celebrate the wins, the losses and the hurts, because if it wasn’t for all those wins, losses and hurts, you wouldn’t be who you are today. Your journey is important and it deserves to be celebrated. You are exactly where you need to be right now, in this very moment. Remember that.

May these words find you well this Holiday season and every season thereafter.

Getty image via Viktor_Gladkov.

Originally published: December 2, 2019
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