We had a most meaningful and productive grief group at the Sutton Place in Toronto this month, focusing on how to cope with the holidays.
With the pressure of gift giving, and the forced cheer of merry making and partying, holidays can have a way of further dampening the spirits of those dealing with loss.
To help sufferers alleviate seasonal depression, sadness and loneliness, our presenter for the evening, Rev. G., suggested concentrating energy on the words: “holy days” rather than “holidays”.
Attendees overwhelmingly ageed that embracing the spiritual essence, rather than the commercial free-for-all and revelry could help lead them to a new perspective during Christmas. This new slant on “holy days” with attention on spiritual thanks and spiritual sharing, could help lead to inner peace and acceptance.
Other key points for consideration when trying to cope:
1. Honor your Feelings whatever they are.
2. Take stock what your expectations are. Are these expectations realistic?
3. Take care of YOU – folks run themselves ragged doing too much.
4. Feel comfortable saying “no” to requests or events.
5. Watch your budget – or you will be anxious about it when the bills come in.
6. Do not over indulge in food, alcohol or other substances because it is a holiday.
7. Keep up your health regimes – rest, exercise, healthy eating, meditation.
8. Give back to the community in some way.
9. Whether the loss is a death, divorce or loss of dreams, the holidays can be a cruel reminder of what once was. Ask for help if you need it. This is not a weakness.
10. If at all possible, do not do things out of obligation.