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3 ways to Cope with Grief during Holidays

This is some open advice to anyone grieving or experiencing uncomfortable feelings during Mother's Day, any other 'significant' day, or holiday.

{If you would rather listen to this, tap here}

First of all... though it may seem like we are, we are not alone in feeling this way. There are so many people also grieving during the times when it feels like everyone around us is celebrating. Grief is universal.

Grief is also unique. There are so many reasons to be grieving. There is no one size fits all or even a couple sizes fits all remedies for coping. But my hope is that sharing what works for me, may help to you or someone you love.

So I want to quickly share 3 things that I have implemented into my self care toolkit surrounding triggering holidays.

These few things that I have added, really help me get through those tough days with more ease.

1. Limit social media exposure

This may seem obvious but it has to be said. This is good advice for any day but especially on days surrounding a triggering holiday. Between advertisements and posts, you can't expect to feel good while being bombarded with triggers every few swipes of your thumb.

Making a conscious decision to do this can go a seriously long way. I didn't truly understand the impact certain posts had on me until I stepped away from it during difficult times. I've found overtime that there is a dramatic difference in how I feel about, experience, and perceive the day depending on when and how much time I'm looking at social media, especially surrounding holidays.

At the root of it, it all comes down to not comparing my current situation to what I used to do or what it seems like "everyone else" is doing. Limiting my social media exposure keeps me more grateful for my current life and situation.

It's also helpful to keep in mind that even the day or two after the holiday, posts and ads about it will still be coming across your feed frequently. So remaining detached from social media a few days after that day, can also really help keep those "FOMO" (fear of missing out) feelings at bay.

2. Try creating a new tradition

When I say "try" creating, I mean that if you don't like it, you don't have to feel obligated to stick with it!

There are plenty of different traditions that you can try out until you find one or some that work best for you. Any activity will do. As long as it gets you up and moving. The key is, finding things that feel good for YOU. It's not about finding things that will make others feel good. It's not about doing what you think your loved one(s) would want you to be doing. If you can find a way to honor them, that is a bonus. It's about doing what brings you peace and comfort. You deserve to take care of yourself everyday, but especially on days like these.

One of the traditions that I started doing on Mother's Day is to fully set up my garden on that day. This idea came from what I used to do with my mom and grandma around Mother's Day.

Every year, I used to go with them to a local greenhouse. We would get a bunch of flowers to add to the annual plants and bulbs that were already sprouting around our house. My mom would also get a few herbs, tomato, & pepper plants to add to the annual meadow tea in the back of the house. I looked forward to doing it with them every year.

I loved the smell of the plants, soil, and mulch that flooded my nose as we walked through the doors. I loved skipping up and down every isle sniffing the flowers, admiring all of the colors, and trying to convince them to buy every plant and bird feeder I saw. I'm reminded of those nice memories with them every time I go to a garden center. Though those memories can be triggering, and make me feel sad at times, I find comfort and joy in them while putting my own garden together.

Sometimes new traditions bring us tears, even if the tradition not based off of specific memories. But that doesn't mean it won't ultimately bring us feelings of peace and comfort once we're finished. Sometimes just the intention behind doing something to comfort yourself, even if it doesn't go exactly the way you expect, can go a very long way.

One last thing about this, making a plan before the day of or even prior to the days surrounding, can be extremely helpful. This will give you time to figure out the logistics annnd something to look forward to.

3. Talk about how you're feeling & what you're experiencing with someone that can listen and hold space with you

Finding someone that can actually hold space with you can be challenging. If you feel as though you don't have someone that you can talk to, I suggest: journaling, talking out loud to yourself, talking out loud to the person that you are missing, speaking to a therapist or counselor, or expressing your feelings through personal art of any kind (not involving social media).

The key here is to just fully express the good, the bad and the ugly of what's been going through your mind, how you feel, and not judging yourself for it.

No matter how many times it feels like you've said it, no matter how much or how little time has passed, those thoughts, though they are not always true, are absolutely real and need to be recognized in order for you to sit with them.

I've been learning that grief isn't something that goes away or gets smaller over time. Its something that stays with us and gives us the opportunity to grow, shrink, or stay stagnate --we get to choose what we do each day. Some days the choice is easy, other days it may seem impossible. Holidays can definitely bring up those impossible feelings. Expressing what comes up for you openly, in some way, has the ability to give you the relief and strength that you may be searching for.

I hope that something here resonates with you and helps!

Bookmark this page to come back to it whenever you need some inspiration

& send to someone that you love that could benefit from reading/hearing this!


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