As winter sets in and the holiday season unfolds, family and friends may gather around a cozy fireplace drinking hot cocoa while sharing memories of the past times. Some may have already finished decorating all around as they tuck their last gifts under the Christmas tree. For others, the holidays bring meaning to lending a helping hand. Holiday cheer, peace, and blessings are surrounded everywhere you go oftentimes hidden with higher expectations, disappointments, and grief. Lingering feelings of being alone, grieving loved ones who have passed away, or those who have been struggling financially may wish to skip the holiday season altogether.
If the holidays seem tough here are a few ways to help lessen the pain of the holidays.
If You Are Suffering From Mental Health Challenges
Taking a step back and allowing yourself to recognize your own emotions may help you get back on track. Consider listening to your own body, mind, and spirit.
How is your body reacting, have you been more tired lately? Have you stopped engaging in certain activities? Are you speaking to your family and friends less often? These are all common questions to ask yourself if you are experiencing long periods of sadness.
Sometimes not having the opportunity to visit family and friends during holiday breaks can bring a sense of feeling alone. Holidays are an opportunity to journey within. Get to know yourself again. Consider using positive coping mechanisms like journaling prompts, going to the gym, or maybe learning a new hobby.
Always remember you are not alone.
If you are experiencing long periods of feeling hopeless and/or you have thoughts about harming yourself or someone else, please contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Phone Number: 988
If You Are Grieving
John Green wrote “Grief does not change you. It reveals you. And herein lies the gift that cannot die. It changes the course of your life forever. If you allow yourself the chance to feel it for as long as you need to, even if it is for the rest of your life you will be guided by it. You will become someone it would have been impossible for you to be, and in this way, your loved one lives on, in you.”
Grieving is painful and often feels as if the missing pieces in our hearts may never heal.
Honoring passed loved ones can be done by creating new yearly traditions. The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, comprise the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But this does not mean healing is a linear timeline in grief. Not everyone goes through all of the stages at once, some may experience these stages at different times. As David Kessler suggests with coauthor Elisabeth Kübler-Ross a sixth stage may bring light by ‘Finding Meaning’. May you find a glimpse of light this holiday.
If You Are Experiencing Financial Hardship
It is only fair to say that this year as a nation we have been faced with becoming more resilient than in previous years. While inflation is continuing to rise the economy suffers. Gas prices are skyrocketing, eggs are no longer one or two dollars, and weekly groceries are almost doubling in cost. Letting go of high expectations to compromise may include going for a budget-friendly dinner rather than having a lavish meal. Instead of buying the most expensive item on a child’s wish list, consider implementing the holiday season by volunteering at a local food pantry or donating care packages to a homeless shelter. Share these moments with your children, they might see how impactful a small act of kindness can bring to those less fortunate this holiday.
If You Have Gone Away From Self Care
It’s okay to pause, you are allowed to say no your best is absolutely enough. Putting one foot in front of the other and still standing calls for a time of celebration. I hope you find the courage to honor yourself. Struggling can be lonely but finding the strength to talk about it with a trusted friend or family member honors the true bravery that is instilled in who you are. Some days may feel like you are on top of the world and other days it is completely okay if all you have done is wake up and make your bed for the day. You are never alone; we all have days like these. Put on your favorite song, or holiday movie and create your own self-care plan. “Be proud of how you’ve been handling these past months. The silent battles you fought, the moments you had to humble yourself, wipe your own tears, and pat yourself on the back. Celebrate your strength.” – Unknown.