Humbug and Cheer – (3) Ways to Take Care of Your Heart Through the Holidays

The holiday season can be a mix of humbug and cheer. For some people, it is their favorite time year illuminated with joy and celebration. There’s a surge in nostalgia, and it’s easy to enjoy the interactions with friends and family. For others, the holidays can be emotional, bringing with it feelings of sadness and loss, stress and disappointment, and overwhelming memories of the past. Feeling fatigued, depressed or anxious is not unusual during the holiday season especially after the death of someone you love.

Coping with the loss of a close friend, fur baby, or family member may be one of the hardest challenges that many of us face.  It is not always easy going through the motions of the holidays especially when you are grieving.  The holidays can lack the meaning they once had without your loved one and the festivities only make the loss you are dealing with even more unbearable.

First, rest your body and mind

Taking good care of yourself is paramount to the healing process. The best approach is to start by being gentle with yourself and listening to your heart and your body.

Give yourself permission to rest, to say no to invitations, forgo traditions, eat small meals instead of preparing a feast, and be more intentional about yourself care routine than anything else. This may include going for a massage, participating in a yoga class, watching a movie, reading, taking a bath in the middle of the afternoon, going for a walk or meditation.

The key is to not push yourself but rather allow yourself some periods of grace even if only for a few days.  Find something that soothes your soul.

Practice self-compassion

The Buddhist understanding of compassion means offering patience, kindness, and nonjudgmental understanding to others as well as oneself.  True strength includes caring for yourself compassionately and being vulnerable and honest with how you feel. 

Keeping a journal is great way to attune to your emotions and process the many layers of grief. A journal allows you to let your guard down and the chance be completely honest with yourself - to have a heart-to-heart discussion about your unresolved anger, fear, guilt, and worry. Its a conversation between you and you. A chance to get real, vent your stress and release what is pent up inside of your heart and mind.

There are no rules in your journal and nothing that says you have to keep what you have written once you are done. 

Find something to celebrate

It may seem counterintuitive, but small moments of celebration make you pause and be mindful and that ultimately boosts your well-being.  This will also shift your vibration which makes it easier for your loved ones on the other side to be closer to you.

Celebrating draws them in, where grief can make it challenging for them to connect with you or for you to feel their presence.  So make a toast, say a prayer, take a bite of their favorite food, sing a song they loved, high five heaven, light a candle and remember you loved one celebrates with you.

Your loved ones in spirit want you to be happy and nothing brings more peace to them than to see you smile.

Greif is a matter of the heart and there certainly is no right or wrong way to grieve. The depth of grief you feel is directly related to the depth of love that was shared and is as unique in healing as to the relationship that was shared.

When we honour our grief, we honour the love.

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