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COPING THROUGH THE HOLIDAY SEASON

Tip #1:    BE PROACTIVE

Be Proactive. Don't sit around without planning to do something on the date of the holiday(s) you celebrate. If you know you will be alone....reach out. Plan a zoom meeting with friends. If you don't have any friends you want to be with right now, search in FB search box for holiday support groups. There are so many. Pick one that feels right for you. Or you might plan to volunteer somewhere: delivering toys, helping give out meals, maybe something with animals. You can create your own holiday rituals for this year and the future. If past holidays were hurtful or traumatic, create new life-affirming rituals that reflect your own new and healthy state of being, and surround yourself with like minded-individuals, or your "family of choice". Don't be afraid to ask to be included in celebrations of others you feel close to; sometimes people don't think to reach out and ask if you'd like to be with them on holidays.  And, yes, that is taking a risk;  it makes you feel vulnerable.  Creating the life you want for yourself involves risk taking and vulnerability.  You can do this. 

 

“The Joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing each other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of the holidays.” W. C. Jones

Tip #2:  GRIEVING DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON

You more than likely feel broken inside, or numb, or perhaps want to escape and avoid dealing with holidays altogether.   The holidays can be an excruciating reminder of what is missing in your life, just as it seems the world just goes on and everything and every one else is full of joy, family, friend, warmth and celebration.  

Prayer and meditation can help immensely. Reaching out in person to a spiritual mentor, priest, rabbi, deacon or other person you would feel safe speaking with can be very helpful.  It often combats feeling so alone.

Reaching out in prayer and meditation is another way effective in easing our pain.  There are a number of meditations on Insight Timer and on you tube that I think you will find helpful.  Or google "meditations for holiday grief" and you may find others that will be helpful.    One that I like is A Holiday Grief Meditation for Remembering the Sweet and Releasing the Bitter w/ Dr. Kate Truitt.

Here is a link to an excellent article on ways you can endure the holiday season when you are grieving.  The site itself (Grief.com) is a wonderful resource for dealing with grief, and under resouces you will some help for Grieving Through the Holidays.

“It’s hard when someone says “it’s great we’re all together for Christmas” Yet the reality is, when a loved one dies, we’re never all here.” - David Kessler

Tip #3:  SPIRITUALITY AND/OR RELIGION

For so many of us, reaching to a higher power, the divine, the God of your understanding, is second nature when we are hurting.  However, there are times when a person feels disconnected from our source.  And that's okay.  God gets it, and will be there waiting until you feel like checking in again.

As with grief, reaching out in person to a spiritual mentor, priest, rabbi, deacon or other person you would feel safe speaking with can be very helpful.  It often combats feeling so alone.

And also as with grief, Reaching out in prayer and meditation is another way to make that connection. There are a number of meditations on Insight Timer and on you tube that I think you will find helpful.  Or google "meditations for holiday stress" and you may find others that will be helpful.    One that I like is 

"Mindfulness mediation for holiday stress" by Vanessa Volpicelli, LMFT.

Reading can be very helpful and there are so many great offerings.  Here are a few that I like:  "When things fall apart" (Pema Chodron), "A Lamp in the darkness" (Jack Kornfield) and of course the wonderful "A Man's Search for Meaning" (Victor Frankl)   Do a google search about getting through difficult times that reflects your own spirituality and I'm sure you'll find something that is helpful for you.

"Grief is the time when we are blessed with the opportunity to complete a natural process of spiritual death and rebirth before our own death."— Stephanie Ericsson 

Tip #4:  MOVIES, TV SHOWS AND MUSIC

For some of you, watching a good show can be comforting, or for some it will invoke a crying session that may prove to be healing.  This is not for everyone or every mood but is something you might like to try if it appeals to you.  Any of these can also serve as a distraction or a mood changer.  If you have not yet made a "play list" of mood changing or/or uplifting media, you might consider that as a good coping skill in general.   Trust your own intuition in choosing, and know what it is you are trying to achieve.  You will find something out there if you choose this tip.  There's always google if you have trouble thinking of something.

 “You are the sum total of everything you've ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot — it's all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.” - Maya Angelou

To all of you struggling this holiday season, know that I am holding you in love and light, and wishing you the ability to find comfort , resources and the support you need.

SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW

by Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwoʻole

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