How To Get My 5 Year-Old To Listen And Behave 16 Tips to Help You Get Through the Holidays While Grieving

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16 Tips to Help You Get Through the Holidays While Grieving

The grief and emotions that accompany the loss of a loved one is a painful experience, and during the holidays it can seem like an overwhelming ordeal. Celebrating in a time of deep sorrow seems cruel and meaningless. The noise and activity that is part of the season can seem shallow and discordant.

Life as we know it has changed and that in turn requires us to make adjustments. We may need to reevaluate our attitudes toward the holidays and decide how involved we want to be, as well as modify old traditions or create new ones. Being prepared and understanding what to expect can help minimize stress and allow us to get through the holidays. Below are some suggestions.

Recognize Your Feelings

Give yourself permission to feel whatever you feel. Don’t assume you have to feel or act a certain way. Tears can be a healthy release.

Prayer and Praise

“Is there any of you who suffer? Let him pray. Is there any cheerful? Let him sing psalms.” (James 5:13)

God is faithful. He knows your pain and sustains you through it. Write and post Bible verses in highly visible areas that speak of God’s love and mercy, such as: Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:18, and Psalm 145:14. Praise lifts our hearts and glorifies God. Read Psalm 34:1 and 1 Timothy 1:17.

Take care of yourself

Adequate rest and a healthy diet are important. Know your limits and don’t push yourself to do more than you can handle. Say no to activities that are more than you can handle. Take time to be alone and spend time in prayer and meditation, take a walk, read a book or listen to soft music.

Shopping

If you must buy gifts, consider shopping online. This allows you to shop at your own pace and at a time that is convenient for you, without the noise and demands of a busy mall. Gift cards simplify the process even more and most people enjoy receiving them.

Decoration

Cut back on holiday decorating or skip it altogether. If you want to put up some decorations ask a friend or family member who understands your situation to help you.

Fun

If you are used to entertaining, you may consider limiting the number of guests to include only close family and/or friends, or consider skipping the entertaining altogether and accepting invitations.

Sharing memories

Invite family and friends to share their memories of your loved one out loud, or consider hanging a stocking or having a special box available where guests can leave their comments.

Ask for help

Getting help and support from others who understand your situation will make a big difference. Tell others what you need most, whether it’s someone to listen to you or someone to help you with a chore.

Seek support

Join a grief support group. It will help you realize that you are not alone in your grief. Hearing the experiences of others and learning what has helped them can be encouraging and comforting.

I make the difference

Helping others can help take the focus off yourself and your pain. Places like nursing homes, homeless shelters and hospitals welcome volunteers. Helping a struggling friend or family member can be just as beneficial.

Stop comparing

Comparing your family to other families is futile and can lead to disappointment. Every family is made up of unique individuals. Find what works best for your family and celebrate with that in mind instead of trying to imitate others.

Remember that others grieve too

Other people are grieving the loss of the family member or friend with you. They need your support as much as you need theirs. Asking how you can help and being available is important to them and to you.

Be happy for what you have

Although it may sometimes seem that way, your loss is not the entirety of your life. Think about the blessings you still enjoy (ie faith, friends, family, job, home, health, etc.) and appreciate them.

Know that you will survive

No matter how painful the loss — you will survive. You will also get through the holidays and when you do you will be stronger and able to help others.

Remember…

You don’t have to enjoy or even participate in the festivities. And you certainly don’t have to pretend to enjoy them. On the other hand, it is equally permissible to participate and have fun. Let the joy happen naturally. The most wonderful gift you can give to anyone you love, even someone who is no longer with you, is to live your life fully in God’s abundance.

Consider writing

Keeping a daily journal can be a way to get and stay in touch with your feelings. Write as little or as much as you want. Even a sentence or two will help you stay focused and give your perspective.

Whether you choose to celebrate the holidays in a new way or choose to forgo celebrations altogether, remember that life is full of new possibilities. Even the changes we didn’t invite or want to happen can be opportunities to grow and explore new avenues we wouldn’t have otherwise considered.

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