Feeling grief during the holidays is a challenge. Some days we are entirely uninterested in the holiday trappings. Celebrations can go from joy to sadness in seconds. The worst part can be the isolation. We don’t want to cry when others are joyous.
With patient persistence, the pain will lessen if you surrender to it. Professional help is also invaluable. I’ve sought out therapists, grief coaches, pastoral care, and shamans. Because, for me, there is no one way through.
Balancing Sadness and Joy
Let the tears flow when they well up. True friends will support your journey through grief. A random thought or statement often acts as a trigger, which eases our anxiety with tears. I’m grateful for each one.
Take your time. There’s no rush to get over the passing of a loved one. Allow your natural flow in this process.
In the early stages, when action is needed, try to pick one activity around your loved one’s memory daily. Often this entails a financial or legal detail. Ask for help. Making lists and seeking advice can also help us stay on track.
Be choosy about your activities, letting your heart be your guide.
Daily morning meditation will help you discover your unique style. Journaling is helpful. And adding ritual eases overwhelm. For instance, I sit in the same place each morning with my cup of coffee, light a candle, and ask my Spiritual team to come close. In the early days of this activity, I asked simple yes/no questions and waited to ‘hear’ the answers. Now, there is a calmness in my heart as soon as I sit down.
Plan at least one joyful activity each day. This is part of self-care. Don’t short-change yourself by counting a required activity like grocery shopping. You might think it matters because you are getting out of the house. Instead, it needs to be a gift you give yourself. For instance, a trip to the post office is on my schedule. Then I add a stop in a cute downtown area to window shop. The fresh air, colorful displays, and people bring me joy.
At first, the sadness will overwhelm the joy, but eventually, there will be more joy. Working through grief is a process. The holiday season is temporary, and the new year is approaching. You can do this.
In the past week, I’ve experienced more sadness than I thought I could endure. However, talking with friends who are also coaches has helped me push through.
The artificial tree is still in the basement, but I have a fresh wreath on my door. My Christmas cards are on their way to my immediate family, the dearest decorations are on display, and I’m planning on attending a wreath-making class tomorrow. It’s not because I need the course, but because it will bring me joy. After all, I still have a bare Advent wreath.
Sending you love and compassion,