Grieving During the Holidays

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By Renée Milner | November 23, 2015

Be Better, Be More Series. The air has gotten crisper, the leaves have changed, and our favorite Thanksgiving and Christmas shows have begun to air non-stop. This time of year reminds us to be joyous, thankful, and kind.

However, this time of year can be very, very difficult for those who have a loved one not joining them at the table this holiday season. You may think holidays will never be the same without them, and truthfully; they won't be. This does not mean that new traditions cannot be formed or that you cannot enjoy little moments during the holidays. You can choose to cherish the present while remembering the loved who will forever be special to you.

What I would like to ask you to do is to take care of yourself this holiday season. You might be taking care of everyone else, but be sure to allow yourself time to cry if you need it. Crying is normal. Everyone grieves differently, so do not feel pressured to grieve the same as others who may around you. To clarify this concept for you, I would like to offer a few Do's and Don'ts of grieving this year.

DON'T feel obligated to discuss your loved one if you don't want to right now. As I said before, we all grieve differently and hopefully your loved ones will respect that as long as you tell them that you are not ready to talk about past holidays just yet.

DO have a family meeting or a talk of some sort before the holiday gets here. Whether it be over Skype or in person, make sure you discuss arrangements. The absence of a loved one can affect where Thanksgiving or Christmas will be held this year, who will be cooking, or even who will be picking out the Christmas tree. If you do intend on continuing certain traditions, make sure everyone is aware so they can choose to participate if they are ready.

DON'T be scared to go for a walk or take some time alone in a private room for a little during the day of celebration. Spending that much time with family can be stressful on its own. Take a timeout if you need it to cry or reflect.

DO be honest and upfront. If you truly do not feel up to preparing a whole feast at Thanksgiving, just say so! Family is family for a reason, and maybe everyone will want to bring their own something to share.

DO try to do something that day to bring yourself a form of joy, no matter how small. Bake some cookies, play with the dog, start your own tradition! That new tradition can begin years of joyful memories and will give you something positive to reflect on when you look back on this year's holiday season.

All in all, do what works for you. Talk about it. Don't talk about it. Try to focusing what helps you feel centered during this holiday season. Always be aware of your emotions and embrace them as they come. Of course you are going to miss your loved one, they were a huge part of your life and traditions. Take the grief as it comes and remember to ask for help when you need it.

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