Christmas is a time of mixed emotions, it can be filled with sparkle and fun for some but loneliness and anxiety for others. Christmas is often seen as a family time and mine will be no different. There will be family gatherings where we play silly games and eat, drink and be merry. However, there will be times when we think about family members who are no longer with us and for me that will include three of my grandparents. Grief takes stages to go through and it can take a number of years to move through each stage, there is no right or wrong when it comes to missing and grieving for those we love.
As a close family, I always saw my grandparents on Christmas Day and their presence is very much missed. Therefore I wanted to share a few different coping mechanisms if you feel this loss even more acutely at Christmas.
- Take time to talk about those you are thinking about. Your other family members will enjoy hearing your memories and also sharing theirs. My nan, for example, was with me for her last Christmas and we were playing games like picking up sweets with chopsticks and she got really involved. She also enjoyed my cocktails and the following morning complained of a ‘bad head cold’ to which my dad pointed out that is was a hangover!! She was not having any of it though and insisted it was a cold that disappeared the following day!! It makes me smile to think about that now!
- Give yourself time to be a little sad. Acknowledging feelings and not bottling them up is very important for our own wellness. Maybe light a candle and just take a few minutes to think.
- If you feel you need help to process and understand your feelings then online therapy may help you move forward and deal with your emotions in a more positive way especially if you are regularly feeling overwhelmed.
- Find things to do, loneliness is very much a part of grief and there are things that you can do to fill this gap. Do make the effort to see others as otherwise, you may feel isolated at Christmas. Reach out to others in similar positions and hopefully you can support each other.
We hope these strategies will support you this Christmas if you are struggling to manage your emotions. Christmas and other holidays lend themselves to us having high expectations but it needn’t be this way. Do look after yourself.