For many people, this is not the most wonderful time of the year. The holidays can stir up many emotions revolving around grief and loss whether it be from the distant past or the present, it is never easy losing a loved one. The grief may come and go or it can be ever present, but it is the way one deals with it that can make all the difference. Sometimes it is hard finding outlets to deal with that grief and one must be straightforward or creative in their approach in healing. Below you will find a few ways to cope with the grief and loss over the holidays.
1. Talk with a professional – One of the best ways to deal with grief and loss is to seek out a professional therapist to help you in your time of need. This can come in the form of individual therapy and/or group therapy. Seeking professional help even for a few sessions will help you process and learn the coping skill to deal with our emotions and give you a safe place to start your healing process.
2. Make a memory box – Your memory box can contain any items that you shared with the person you’re missing. You can get as creative as you would like on the inside and out. Start by decorating the box in a creative manner such as pasteing pictures on the outside or using scraps of their old clothing to decorate it. On the inside add whatever you can that triggers a smile such as old concert tickets, jewelry, old notes in their handwriting, or even an old recipe that the two you loved. There is no right or wrong way to create memories that you can visit over and over again.
3. Revive an old tradition – Maybe the two of you used to have Sunday brunch or ran marathons together. Whatever special tradition or activity you shared together, think about reviving it in honor of them. This may help you feel closer to them as well as get you up and active again.
4. Start a new tradition – If you did not share a tradition or can’t bear reviving an old one, start a new tradition. It does not have to be anything elaborate. It can be something as simple as lighting a candle in their honor on their birthday or the day the passed or letting loose some balloons with a special prayer on them. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it has a special meaning to you.
5. Charity in their honor – It is always nice to give back to the community. This way you are not only giving back, but you are keeping alive the spirit of someone that means a great deal to you. This way their memory will continue to touch many others.
6. Surround yourself with loved ones – Being around healthy, supportive people in your time of need is an excellent way to cope with a loss. You don’t have to limit yourself to family and friends, try reaching out to your religious community, a support group, or even an online community that is connected through loss and grief. However, you stay connected, make sure that it is a safe, non-toxic environment where you are allowed to grieve at your own pace and are encouraged in a healthy, positive manner.
These are just a few ways to get you started on your journey to healing from grief. The first thing to remember there is no one way to heal. Mourning is a delicate and difficult time to go through and looks different for everyone. If you feel that it is too overwhelming for you to handle on your own, please don’t hesitate to reach out and get the help that you need in the form of a professional therapist. There is still hope to be had in times of loss. It may take some time, but happiness and joy can and will return if you are open to receive it. Blessings on your journey to healing.
By Garcsa Brooks,
Intern, Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc.