We’re all affected by the loss of a loved one at some point in our lives. For me, loss struck at an early age with the death of my Grandma Nita at seven, then at fourteen, with my Granny Nell. Over the years I’ve experienced the death of family members and assisted dear friends in coping with their loss. My elders passing early in life taught me that loss is a rite of passage; both birth and death are essentials to the cycle of life.
Decades later, I’m still profoundly affected. Two Thanksgiving’s ago, my Mother passed away. As the holiday season approaches, I brace myself wondering how I’ll feel. Will I stay super busy to avoid feeling the rush of remembrance?
I’ve discovered that no matter how long ago or recent your loss, the predictability of how you’re going to feel during the holidays is wildly unpredictable. Missing a loved one is a natural experience. Simple triggers like a song on the radio, a familiar smell, or a fleeting moment of déjà vu will create a flash of memories. Before you know it, your system will be flooded with an uncontrollable wave of emotions. It’s almost as if you start to miss, mourn or grieve your loved one all over again. In these moments, I remember that you have to “feel in order to heal”.
A joyous occasion may turn out to be a time of tremendous sadness. Here are some remedies that I’ve found to be helpful to counter the effects of the holiday blues:
- Maintain a sense of your routine during the busy holiday season
- Give yourself permission to feel whatever your heart desires
- Seek the company of friends and loved ones who support you
- Honor your loved ones memory by incorporating them into your celebration with activities such as: a special prayer or ceremony, add their favorite dish to the dinner menu, decorate using their favorite colors/theme, or add special feel good touches
- Get up & get moving-fresh air and physical exercise helps to uplift your spirit and oxygenate the blood. Plus, you get the added bonus of burning off those holiday calories
- Seek comfort in your religious/spiritual center. Find someone that specializes in grief counseling if you’re struggling to perform basic tasks like, getting out of bed, personal hygiene or self care
- Make the most of your holiday, celebrate and create new traditions.
Share your secrets to surviving the holiday blues.
Schantelle Cason is an actress, voice over artist and freelance writer returning from a Mommy-hiatus. She resides in Los Feliz, CA and is enjoying rediscovering her groove by embracing her new adventures.