They say the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year – but for those of us who have recently lost a loved one, that’s not always the case. Every little tradition, from decorating the Christmas tree to opening presents on Christmas morning, can serve as a painful reminder of those who have passed on.
If you find yourself feeling depressed during the holiday season, you’re far from alone. This time of the year is a lonely and difficult period for many, many people. But you don’t have to suffer in silence and put on a brave face for celebrations with family and friends. Instead, try to deal with the holiday blues in a healthy manner using one of these tips.
Tip #1: Seek Comfort in Friends & Family
You don’t have to pretend like everything’s peachy for your friends and family. Not only will they understand the sorrow that often surrounds the holidays after a tough loss, but chances are they have experienced that sorrow themselves at some point. We all lose loved ones; it is a tragic but inescapable reality of life. Your friends and family know this, and they don’t expect you to pretend like everything’s fine when it’s not.
So seek comfort in the trusted friends and family that remain. Simply talking about our feelings of grief and loss goes a long way in helping us heal. To have another human being listen to our suffering is incredibly powerful, and can immediately take some of the weight off of our shoulders. You don’t have to carry the burden of life and loss all by yourself – that’s what friends and family are for, to help us shoulder some of that burden. On the other hand, pushing those feelings away and instead putting on a brave face can be detrimental to one’s mental well-being. It only delays and prolongs the healing process – not to mention, it’s positively exhausting.
Tip #2: Turn to the Church
Church provides an important sense of community and belonging to billions of people across the world. It is a place where we can keenly feel that we are a part of something much, much bigger than ourselves, and that feeling can be comforting to those suffering the recent loss of a loved one. It helps us tune into the ongoing, ever-changing cycle of life.
In addition to the spiritual benefits of church, it also acts as a safe haven to many who would otherwise feel alone, but find an entire family in their congregation. Your fellow churchgoers will be there for you always and especially when you need it most. Don’t be afraid to turn to them for help, companionship, and support. We all deserve a loving community that we can turn to during our most difficult times.
Tip #3: Speak with a Professional
Many of us prefer to handle our problems on our own, shrugging off the idea of therapy as unnecessary, expensive, or too much of a hassle. But even if you don’t go to a therapist regularly, the holidays might be a good time to book a session or two. We all need a little help to get through life, and professional psychiatrists and therapists are often the people most equipped to help us. There’s no reason to be ashamed of seeking professional help when you need it. It’s amazing what the right therapist and the right medication can do for your life. It’ll leave you wondering why you didn’t bite the bullet and reach out sooner!
Tip #4: Create New Traditions
Change is inevitable, so we might as well embrace it. Hang onto your family’s old traditions for as long as you want to, but don’t forget to create new traditions, too. It will help you reframe the idea of life changes into more of a positive concept. Take your grandchildren to a Christmas movie. Treat yourself to a holiday spa day. Bake your favorite cookies and enjoy them all yourself if you want to! Whatever new traditions you decide to create, enjoy and embrace them. It’s what your loved ones of past would have wanted you to do.
Wishing a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season to all in our HealthKeeperz family! But if it’s not a happy time for you, that’s okay, too. We understand that this can be a highly difficult time of year for many families, especially those whom we meet through our hospice division. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and remember, we’re always here for you.
Love, your HealthKeeperz family