How I Cope With Grief During The Holidays
This time of year is always hard for anyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one. Quite honestly, your mood changes and you don't even realize it until someone calls you out on it. My father lost his battle to liver cancer on February 25th, 2016. It was a tough year for me to say the least. I had my first experience of being called out for being "off" back in 2016 when I thought nothing was wrong but everyone else around me could tell something was off. Subconsciously, your brain is preparing you for the reality of things not being the same and as a result, it's transpired through your actions. You don't realize this because again, it's subconsciously done. It's similar to when you do things out of habit and don't even realize you did it.
Over the years, I have learned of different coping skills that work best for me. What I'm going to share are things that I do to help me get through the holidays. You're more than welcome to mirror these things; however, I encourage you to identify the things that will help you because we are all different.
Leading up to the holidays, I spend time focusing on the "NOW" and how I can mentally set myself up for success in the event I have a breakdown.
I focus on what currently makes me happy and I live in that. Happiness is something that can change so what worked for me last year during this time may not work this year. When I focus on what currently makes me happy, it gives me the opportunity to easily revert back to that happiness in the event I feel myself drifting on the deep end.
I pull out old pictures of my family, including the ones with my late father in them. This helps me reminisce on the good times and also reflect back to life before my father passed away.
Each time I soak in my tub, I pull out a special stone. The stone is one of the many stones that laid on my late father's gravestone. I took one of them and brought it back to Georgia with me to make me feel close to his gravesite.
I dedicate one evening in December to have what I call a "Let It Out" session. I shut off my phone, television, and lights, and allow myself to have one emotional night where I let out my emotions (cries, anger, sadness, etc), and I talk to God. This really does help me release any emotions I have built up.
I purchase something that my father may like for me or something I think he would get if he was here. This was more of a trial and error idea one year and I loved it! May sound crazy, but shopping with my father in mind makes me feel like he's right next to me.
Make the time to do whatever makes you cope better during the holiday season. Grief never goes away but it does get easier cope with as time progresses.
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