Whether your loss happened recently or a long time ago, Christmas can be an emotional time. I lost my mum 13 years ago and my dad 6 years ago but there are still some years where I find it more challenging than others.
These occasions are often the time when people get together to celebrate with family and friends, so if you’ve experienced loss, this can feel like a pretty stark reminder of that. While everyone reacts differently, a lot of people find this time difficult.
There is another added layer to this and that’s the idea of facing the festivities alone. This can be a daunting prospect for some. For others, some time alone is what they need.
The point is, in all of this there are no rules. There is no “should, would, and could”. What’s important is you take some time before the main event to decide what’s going to work best for you.
To Celebrate or Not?
The answer is straight forward – go with what you feel. You might experience a whole range of emotions, including sadness, guilt, or even excitement.
After loss, some people are not up for celebrating in the usual way. It’s completely normal to feel sad and a little bit detached.
Others, however, prefer to maintain their usual routine. There’s nothing wrong with this either. Getting together with family and close friends may be a chance to remember the good times and to laugh. Having fun isn’t a sign that you don’t miss the person you’ve lost.
However you feel, it’s better to honour your feelings and be true to where you’re at rather than feel you need to conform in a certain way.
I know from personal experience that conflict can arise amongst family and friends at this time of year, particularly as they are full of good intentions about what’s best for you. In my experience, it’s usually coming from a good place. But this is about managing expectations. It’s good to talk openly about what it is you really need.
Looking After You.
The Christmas period often means that our normal routines are disrupted and we get caught up in the to-do list. It’s helpful to keep some aspects of your regular routine and look after your health.
In environments when it’s tempting to use alcohol as a comforter, it’s good to remember the monster hangovers and low mood that can also follow. Things like excessive drinking provides a temporary relief and there more helpful ways of coping.
Simply accept this could be a tough time for you and you might need to treat yourself with a bit of extra care. If possible, make some time each day to treat yourself to something you enjoy. How about making a list of what those things are? You don’t have to spend lots of money. For example, walking in nature is scientifically proven to help lift your mood.
As Time Goes By.
I always say, “It isn’t that time is the healer, it’s just that healing takes time”. At some point in the future, special occasions can help us to focus on happier memories of good times shared in the past. Just know that it will start to feel better as you move along this journey.
You are not alone and I want you to remember that. Now might be a good time to seek some professional help and support. I’m always happy to listen and explore whether coaching is right for you. All you need to do is book yourself a discovery call and I guarantee you’ll feel better just by taking this little step.