The holidays are a season of good cheer and optimism for many as they look forward to the New Year. Friends and family are busy with parties, shopping and celebrating. According to Karen Higgins, MD, everything seems “merry and bright”, but for those who are grieving, it can be a time of loneliness, isolation and disconnection. Dr. Higgins, a psychiatrist with Western Sierra Medical Center in Green Valley, California, wrote a very helpful article last year offering a number of tips on how cope with the holiday season. The following are some highlights. A link to her article is provided at the end of this post.
Although you may feel like withdrawing, don’t. Try to stay connected, even though it’s hard. Withdrawing can make feelings of depression and loneliness worse. “Being around a supportive network plays a big role in lifting the cloud of depression and loneliness.”
That being said, take care to not put too much pressure on yourself either, which can add extra stress.
Rely on spiritual and interpersonal strengths, such as prayer, meditation and relaxation.
Volunteer. “Giving to others may be just what someone needs to gain a new perspective – no matter how difficult it might seem.”
Listen to music, which can have a “positive and healing effect.”
Take care of yourself. “Proper diet, regular exercise and a healthy sleeping pattern are all essential to feeling good.”
Make time for a favorite hobby and/or start a new holiday tradition.
Be thankful and think positively. “Envision a positive outcome, and this will help make it [the holidays] a special day.”
The Grief Recovery Method® offers a safe and confidential environment to examine the losses in your life and to discover what was left unsaid or undone and what expectations or dreams were left unrealized. Discovering these unexpressed emotional communications and sharing them allows you to bring your pain and sad feelings to the surface and to let them go, while still retaining cherished memories. By taking these actions, your heart and head will work together to show you the way out of grief and move forward to a happier life.
Please call me. I can help.
Higgins, K. (2014). The most wonderful time of the year? The Union. December 23, 2014. Available online at http://www.wsmclinic.org/files/8314/1961/9049/Holiday_Blues_and_Most_Wonderful_Time_of_the_Year_The_Union_Dec_23_2014.pdf
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