While western culture and social media focus on the joy, happiness and indulgences of the holiday season, they are also times when the holidays bring up strong feelings of grief and sadness.
This makes perfect sense; during the holidays, our focus turns to family, pets, and close friends. When some of those people and beings are no longer in our lives, whether through death or estrangement, we feel their absence most deeply in the holidays.
The sadness can be even more overwhelming when all you see are other people who are smiling, laughing and joyous. Even though almost everyone has experienced loss, grief can be quite isolating.
Tips to Navigate Grief in the Holidays
1.Acknowledge the grief, instead of denying it.
The key here is to recognize how you’re feeling, but avoid going into the story attached to that feeling. Remembering your beloved dog that passed this year is healing In a bittersweet way; convincing yourself that you were a terrible owner by not taking her to the vet sooner is less helpful.
2.Honour lost loved ones through enjoying traditions.
Bake your nana’s favourite shortbread cookies, go for that winter walk like you did with your ex-partner, or light the menorah even if your family cannot be with you physically. Traditions can be comforting.
3.Connect with others through donating your time or money to your favourite causes. Giving in any amount or form just feels good. Placing the focus on others often helps us to keep perspective. Seeing the joy in a child who has received a toy that you donated is heart-warming.
4.Take care of your health
When you are feeling better physically, your mental and emotional health benefits. Stay hydrated, eat healthy foods for you in between holiday indulgences, rethink your consumption of alcohol, go for a walk/ski/skate, and make adequate sleep a priority. A naturopathic doctor can help you develop a realistic plan to support your health naturally.
~ Dr. Caroline Meyer, ND