Holiday Grief By Stephanie Barbee, LCSW

By Stephanie Barbee | Dec 11, 2022

If you’ve watched the movie Black Panther 2 (10/10 highly recommend) or even heard of the movie, one of the major themes is making space for grief. For many people, holiday grief isn’t something their aware of. They just ‘don’t like this time of year’ or ‘aren’t really feeling it’. If you feel it, it’s important to make space for it.
There are lots of reasons you may be feeling some grief. It may be due to changes in family structure, not having a healthy or safe family to celebrate with, or not wanting to witness (or be a victim of) toxic behaviors and relationship dynamics. Some people are on healing journeys and have less tolerance. Some people have lost important people over the years. Whatever your reason, here are some tips that can help you get through.
1) Be aware and accepting of the emotions that come up. GRIEF IS NORMAL! You are normal if you experience grief for whatever reason at this time of year. You don’t have to ‘get rid of it’ or ignore it. Allow yourself to feel what you need to feel.
2) Connect. Allow yourself to be with people who are good for you. It can be on the holiday, before, or after, but allow yourself to spend time with people who make you feel good.
3) Divide responsibility (or don’t). Decide if you desire to be the solo cooker for a family gathering or if you need help, speak up. You can order from restaurants, do it potluck style, or any other creative solution that makes sense for you.
4) Spend time alone. If you don’t feel the need, don’t force yourself to ‘put on a happy face. Give yourself a time limit for social activities or plan time alone to decompress. Spend your alone time doing whatever you need to feel reset.
The holidays can be a time of joy and celebration for some and challenging or complex emotions for others. Whatever this time of year represents, you deserve to take time, have grace, and choose what’s best for you.

About The Author

Stephanie Barbee is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Missouri. She serves primarily Black Queer people who seek to understand their identities, overcome traumatic experiences, or explore how to move through a world that sees them as invisible. She is also a speaker, trainer, and consultant.

Picture by Jill Wellington on Pixababy

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Stephanie Barbee

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