While the holidays are a joyous time for many, it is important to remember that life – and loss – continues regardless of the date on the calendar. Some of you may have had to deal with an unimaginable loss of a loved one over the holidays. Dealing with grief during a time when others are celebrating may cause stressful conflict within, as you may feel pressured to set aside your grief during a time of celebration.
However, whenever you experience a loss, the key is to give yourself permission to grieve. Such feelings are so powerful that if we do not experience and express them, if we do not address them, then they can reside inside, eventually leading to illness.
If you are dealing with a loss suffered during the holidays, here is a simple list of actions you can take to help deal with your grief.
- First, you must take care of your physical needs. Keep it simple. Drink water throughout the day. Eat nourishing foods, as the immune system is compromised with grief.
- Be sure to get enough sleep. Grief takes a lot of energy.
- Exercise. Keep your body moving, even if it is just to go for a walk around the block.
- Stay away from things like alcohol, drugs, and caffeine whenever possible.
- Take interior time for yourself. This can be done through journaling, meditation, and prayer, as well as any creative activity that allows you to express actively what is difficult to express orally, such as painting, arts, and crafts, music, etc.
- Find a grief counselor to guide you and your family through the process. Do this so that at a certain time, on a specific date, you will confront your grief in a safe environment. If necessary, your counselor might temporarily consider a multi-disciplined approach of counseling, medication/anti-depressants, and behavior modification.
The important thing to remember is to treat yourself without guilt, judgment or criticism. Be gentle with yourself, be kind to yourself, and in time, you will come out of the darkness of descent into the light.