Coping with loss during the holidays/Grieving Mindfully During the Holidays

By Kim Knight | Oct 24, 2022

Coping with loss during the holidays/Grieving Mindfully During the Holidays

By: Jasmine Cobb, LCSW, CGCS

Picture by Canva

As the leaves begin to change and cooler temperatures arrive, the holidays typically signify a time for joyful spirits, cheerful giving, and banding together with family, friends and community. Yet, your outlook and feelings toward the holidays may also be skewed after suffering a significant loss. Though there are many different types of loss, according to the Center for Prolonged Grief, a death loss is considered to be one of life’s major stressors.

It is normal to feel stuck in time, after a loss especially during the holidays, while the rest of the world is preoccupied with the present and future festivities. When we experience loss the pain stems from the hopes, dreams, and expectations we had for the present and the future. We often look to time for healing perhaps because it is predictable. What if I told you, you already have everything you need inside of you in order to heal and live fully again.

The seasons will change, but some of the losses we experience are permanent and cannot be replaced. Finding ways to personally acknowledge and validate your experience can be helpful. Griefwork can be challenging, but it is not impossible. You can fast-track your journey to healing by taking the right course of action even though it will feel like slow-motion.

Contrary to what you may initially associate with the grief experience, there is actually good stuff deep down inside the pockets of grief, which means it does not have to be full of doom and gloom. The holidays could also be used as a time to use whatever energy you are able to muster up, to begin a new tradition. Becoming intentional about what we do with our pain can restore some of the powerful feelings that seem to have been extracted from us.

Here are a few simple, but practical tips to help you ease into the hustle and bustle of the holiday swing while revering your loss.

#1- LISTEN: to yourself, your body, and your heart. This will be key to navigating the mental and emotional stress both in and out of the [holiday] season(s). You know more about yourself than you probably give yourself credit for. *Listen to a song that reminds you of your loss. It is ok to feel happy and it is ok to feel sad.

#2- BE STILL: this one can be difficult. Rest is important. Staying busy mentally and physically could be a sign of maladaptive coping, and after a while, it exacerbates a journey that is complicated within itself. Mindfulness meditation could also be used to help ground and calm the body and mind. *Meditate on what made your loss special to you.

#3-CONNECT: be open to receiving support. If help is offered, accept it. I know accepting help can be hard, but remember the journey is not meant to be traveled alone. We grieve better with a team. A team will need to consist of more than just yourself. Members of your team do not have to include family and the makeup of your team can and will change through time. *Explore ways you can still continue your bond with your loss.

#4- GRIEVE WITH GRACE: give yourself and others a break. Grief is a universal experience, but there is no universal playbook. This unwinding journey will continue to unfold as long as we are committed to the process of this experience. We will not always feel good about it or always have positive thoughts and acceptable reactions, but we can learn more about this experience together. *Find a way (that is uniquely special to you) to honor your loss in some way, no matter how big or how small.

Feel free to visit www.cliniciansofcolor.org to find a grief counselor. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Jasmine is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and is certified as a grief counselor. She has developed expertise in providing grief counseling and grief therapy for adults. She is located in Texas and is currently accepting new clients. She can be reached at contact@visualhealingts.com.



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Kim Knight

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