She, if she had to, would grieve wildly - with noise, mucus, paint on the canvas, blustery walks on beaches, curse words and exhausted sleep. But everyone grieves differently just as everyone loves in different ways.
For Wellness Wednesday, I'm thinking about everyone who has lost a loved one this year. Grieving during the holidays...what to do?
City of Hope offers these suggestions:
Grieve together. “There is a tendency for those grieving to withdraw from social interactions to mourn alone,” Folbrecht said. “But by sharing this experience with others, they will know that they are not alone in this ordeal and are better able to share, and ultimately work through, their feelings.”
Be prepared for interactions. “Mourners may also avoid socializing because they are afraid to burden others with their grief, a feeling that is amplified over the holidays since they may meet people they do not regularly see throughout the year,” Folbrecht said. To address that, Folbrecht suggests mentally preparing with how much (or little) they want to disclose about the situation to various social circles. Finally, mourners should be not be afraid to say "no" or "later" if the situation becomes too overwhelming.
Consider your traditions. One reason the holidays can intensify sadness is because cherished activities become a source of pain. Rather than focus on the loss, Folbrecht suggests mourners should examine what traditions they want to keep and practice to remember their loved ones. "Some traditions may be difficult to continue after the loss, so loved ones should consider replacing them with new activities that honors the death while helping loved ones through the grieving process," Folbrecht said.
Don't forget self care. “Grieving is a very exhausting process for both the mind and body, so it’s important to take a break for self care,” Folbrecht said. The holidays offer numerous opportunities for mourners to take their minds off bereavement, she added, suggesting that they volunteer at a food and clothing drive, write greeting cards to loved ones or simply check out the festive decorations in their neighborhoods. Activities like exercising, meditating and enjoying a massage will also help reduce the stress of the holidays.
from From Finding Holiday Joy Amid the Grief:
Discover Small Joys
As the holidays unfold, tune into small joyful moments, Apollon advises. "When you hear the laughter of children, focus on how good that feels. When you eat a piece of pie, really taste it. In the moment, it tastes so good -- and in that moment, you're outside your grief."Also, look for opportunities to laugh. "When you're laughing, your brain produces endorphins to boost the immune system," she says. "Give yourself permission to find things that make you laugh."
Here's a tip from Chesapeake Life Center's bereavement counselors:
Above all, communicate: Communicate what you can handle comfortably during this time to your friends and family. “Let folks know that you might need to take a break from festivities after a while,” Roberta Rook, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, said. Let them know it’s not because you don’t want to be with them, but because you need the time to recharge and gather yourself. Tell them whether or not it’s alright for them to talk about your loved one. Make them aware if you need to make changes in your role in family holiday responsibilities. “By relating your needs, you minimize the chances for misunderstandings and hurt feelings,” Rook said.
Another video, although this one focuses on depression during the holidays.
Lastly, here's Gayle Danley, Your Grief Girl