There's a winter storm taking place outside and every weather channel is asking that you stay home. But what if they knew that the holidays sometimes feel so much worse than driving in the crazy snow?
A season that is often spoken of as a time for "family" and "joy" often brings about much grief and anxiety as one spends time reflecting on the "has been's" and "could be's" of life. How is it possible to feel sad during the happiest time of the year?
Grief might seem like an unwelcome guest at the holiday table, and might take on many different forms. It might look like reminiscing the past, memories of losing a loved one, dying relationships, or loneliness that comes with change this time of year.
When it comes to our grief, it can feel more comfortable to pretend it doesn't exist and spend the time avoiding it like we do the plague. But what if the presence of grief was to aid you, rather than hurt you?
Allowing ourselves to press into our emotional discomfort, can give us a better understanding of the things we have yet to confront in our lives, ways we might need to support ourselves better or ask for gentler care from those around us.
There are several ways to press into grief during the holiday season:
Remember and Acknowledge: honoring the loss and change someone has experienced can be incredibly crucial to the healing process. Giving ourselves time to talk about fond memories, holding on to mementos and items that remind us of those we've lost can be symbolic to honoring what we've experienced.
Practicing Self-care: our bodies hold a lot of memories of grief and trauma that we experience and giving ourselves a chance to take care of our bodies in this especially tough season is important. Practicing healthy hygiene, going for walks, getting in naps through the day, going to bed on time, or breathing exercises and meditation among other things can be rejuvenating and reenergizing for the body.
Self-Expression: finding healthy outlets to process grief when around others or alone can be helpful. Creating music, artwork or journaling about our experiences are useful tools to process and find space for grief this season.
As this season moves towards the New Year and reflecting on life becomes inevitable, may gentleness towards others and ourselves overflow as we continue to unwrap these messy and uncomfortable emotions.
If you find that these things might be extra hard for you to do right now, please prioritize your mental health and reach out for some additional help.
Sarita Andrews, LLC