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For some, the holidays are fun and exciting. For others, they can be painful. The holidays may be a reminder of loved ones we have lost, relationships that are hurting, or other struggles in life. This can lead to feelings of grief, stress, or loneliness. So, how do we deal with grief during the holiday season when it seems that everyone else is celebrating? I would like to offer three suggestions to help.
• Be true (to yourself). Your pain is real for you. Maybe a spouse has died, there is a broken relationship, or the loss of a job has occurred. Be true to the feelings of grief you have. Ignoring hurt, anger, stress, or other negative emotions does not make them go away. Acknowledging the feelings that you are experiencing will be beneficial throughout the grieving process.
• Be prepared. The holiday season may present some firsts. Maybe it’s the first Christmas without a loved one or the first Thanksgiving meal with an empty chair. Recognizing and anticipating these firsts can help you better prepare for any feelings of pain or hurt which may arise.
• Be proactive. If Christmas morning looks different this year, allow yourself a level of control by deciding how you will celebrate. This could look like taking a trip as a Christmas gift to you and your family, finding a cause to volunteer for throughout the season, or revisiting old traditions – or creating new ones. Planning ahead will allow you to experience a sense of control over at least one area of the season when other things might feel outside of your power.
Holidays can be tough, but so can you! Being true, prepared, and proactive can help you live with grief during the holidays. Summit Counseling has a team of trained and experienced therapists available to walk alongside you this holiday season. Visit our website to view our services, meet our therapists, and schedule an appointment for yourself or a loved one at www.summitcounseling.org!