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Three Effective Grief Tools To Use During The Holidays
Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and special days always add an extra sense of remembrance after a loss. I experienced the loss of my beloved last month. To add to that, it’s my father’s birthday and next month will be his death anniversary. The two heroes of my life.
As a grief coach, all of this has put me in a “practice what I preach” space. I’m going to share with you some tools that have allowed me to get to a place of peace and fulfillment. Know that it is normal and natural to grieve after a significant loss (from death, divorce, separation, relationship, job, money, etc.). Don’t repress this important step in your grief journey. There is another side, but the only way to navigate this wasteland of sorrow is to go through it. Also, know that no one can tell you how to grieve because there is no right or wrong way to grieve and no one can truly know or understand the relationship you shared with your loved one.
Here are three tools that I not only use for my grief coaching clients, but have worked effectively for me:
- Find an activity where you can give back. I volunteered on Thanksgiving at a nursing/rehab center and I cannot express in words the joy and satisfaction that experience gave me. I honestly felt like it was where I really needed to be at that moment. I watched the Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV with a 98-year-old resident who didn’t want me to leave. I visited another resident who happily shared the miracle of her healing and learned that she is a neighbor, making a new friend. As they both offered me endless expressions of thanks, I found myself saying thank you. I left the facility feeling like I was walking on air. Not to discount my loss, but to give me so much gratitude for being where I was at that time.
- Don’t feel compelled to do something you don’t want to do. It’s okay to say no. Yes, family members and friends were concerned and invited me to dinner. After thinking about how to say no, I practiced what I preach, and simply told them thanks for the invitation, but I wouldn’t be joining them. Don’t regret. True family and friends will understand. Remember, they are just trying to help.
- Write a letter. Another effective grief activity I recommend is writing a letter. If the loss was by death, write a letter to your loved one. End the letter with “Goodbye” and sign it. This will help if you’re having trouble accepting loss and that’s holding you back from taking the journey and moving forward.
I cannot stress enough that the sooner you accept that your life as it was will never be the same again, the sooner you can start moving forward with your “new life”. I recommend grief counseling, support groups, or professional help if you need it. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes. “The hardest part of any journey is taking the first step, but you have to keep going.”
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