Caring for yourself during the holidays

December 12, 2023

Holidays are usually times filled with memories, and you may feel especially tender and vulnerable. Consider making time for yourself and your memories as a part of new holiday traditions. Caring for yourself can be another way of honouring the person who died.

Many times, the more we need to take care of ourselves, the less we do it. You may notice that you have been ignoring your own health or don’t care very much about yourself; or you may believe that you don’t deserve self-care. If you have a physical problem brought on by stress or an emotional reaction, try to pay attention to it.

Grief at any time is tiring and challenging. When special days and holidays approach, you may need to pay more attention to yourself and ask, “What do I most need now?”

Here are some helpful tips from other bereaved people:

•   Rest. Slow down or stop. Grieving requires a lot of energy.

•   Balance time alone and time with others.

•   Eat foods and drink fluids that are healthy.

•   Trust yourself. Be guided by your own instincts.

•   Spend time in nature or take a walk around the block.

•   Connect with a new or old friend for lunch, a movie or a walk.

•   Simplify daily life and responsibilities whenever and wherever you can.

•   Be gentle, patient and tolerant with yourself. Take it one step at a time.

Expect your feelings to change, perhaps without much warning. There may be times when you feel sad, angry or frustrated. You may feel loneliness or longing for the person who has died. At other times, you may experience joy and laughter or enjoy yourself for a few moments – and then feel guilty. Remind yourself that this is part of the healing process. Try to make room for your feelings, whatever they may be.

Tips on Dealing with the Holiday Blues

Do something symbolic: find a unique way to remember your loved one, hang a stocking, make a charitable donation, hang an ornament, put a wreath on the grave or light a special candle not in memory of the death, but in celebration of the life and love shared.

Be patient: know that hardly anyone is as happy as we think they are. We all have hurts to bear even though in our “busyness” it may not seem so. There are lots of lonely people and charitable organizations that could use your love, care and help.

Examine expectations: it is unrealistic to expect the holidays to be as memorable as those were in the past after any major life change. Families are encouraged to talk, agree and plan together on whether holiday traditions should be continued or altered after the death of a love one. Everything has already changed, so do not be afraid to change some traditions. You choose which ones.

Think, speak and act positively: Try to stop the negative thoughts as they begin and replace them with, “in spite of my loss, I will try to enjoy this season”. Affirmative thoughts open the door to a season of hope and pleasure, not despair and pain.

Hospice Services

Hospice Services is here to help. When you reach out to us, you will find a comforting place, specialized programs and highly trained people to help transform hurt into hope. Visit our website or call us at 705-324-7323 ext 550 to learn more about our Hospice Services.