Holidays are mixed bag, for many it is a time of great expectations and thrills, for others it can lead to a feeling of dread and sadness. Over the past 13 years I have spent working in the business of loss, grief, and change, one thing I am sure of is that not everyone is happy concerning the holidays. When there has been significant loss or change in our lives this can lead to feelings of fear and even sometimes isolation.
I have heard some people say, “well I just have the holiday blues.” I find this description interesting and often when I ask more questions it sounds as if the holiday blues stretched all the way back into the summer! That is either prolonged blues or a head start, not sure which it is but either way it isn’t a good feeling!
My point is, the blues don’t last forever. If you have had a prolonged period in your life where there has been little joy or if you feel tired all the time, then you may be dealing with something more than the blues. That is where a trusted counselor or health care professional can be of assistance. If that is where you find yourself, I encourage you to make an appointment.
In the South it is rare that we have a white Christmas but every time I think of the holidays my mind drifts to snow covered hills and city streets glistening in winter’s affection. You know, snowflakes are very complex. I have heard it said that there has never been, nor do I assume will ever be a snowflake that is exactly the same, each one has a pattern that is unique to itself much like our fingerprint.
Your grief and reaction to change in your life is also unique. There is not one of us that experiences grief reaction exactly the same. Sure, there are common experiences and expected reactions, but we all experience this journey in a different way. Whether you are having the “holiday blues” or whether you are having something far more lasting there are some things you can do that many people have found helpful.
As you approach the holidays I want to encourage you to allow yourself to grieve as the process comes to you. No doubt you will receive invitations and opportunities to celebrate this season, but I would like to empower you to know that you can and have the right to say no.
You also have the right to say yes and to enjoy the time as well. Both responses are correct, it depends on how you feel and what is best for you at a given time. During the process of grief it is important to take care of yourself. People will have advice, suggestions, and some may even insist that you do this or that, but you have the right to say yes or no.
Because we all experience grief differently we need to be sensitive to what our feelings are telling us.
As we see images of snow (maybe we will even see the real thing!) let this be a reminder like the characteristic of the snow flake your own grief is complex and unique. Your grief is yours to experience and it is not easy nor does it go away quickly. Please be gentle with yourself this season and every season.
Peace and Love, Travis