“Strolling around SE Michigan & sending joy in the journey”.
Coping with Heartbreaking Grief and Guilt during the 2021 Holidays
COPING WITH GRIEF IN THESE HOLIDAYS
Coping with grief these holidays can be very rough. When you lose somebody, either to death or a breakup, it can be so darn difficult it can break your heart.
But there is hope, there are things that you can do to help yourself to cope with the pain.
Take in consideration that no matter how you lost that person (death or breakup) you have to go through a process of mourning.
In these times missing that especial person can be extremely difficult.
Do not despair though, coping with grief and mourning can be less painful these holidays following some advice, so you don’t feel so lonely and devastated.
- Accept that these holidays are going to be different from others and hard.
- Come up with a new tradition in memory of your loved one.
- Ask your relatives and friends for help and companionship. Don’t spend time alone.
- Don’t expect everyone to be extremely sympathetic with your grief. They are not grieving and only people very close to you will hug your heart with their sincere love and understanding.
- Put out a ‘memory Christmas stocking’.
- Light a beautiful candle in your home in memory of the person you have lost.
- Make a donation to a charity that was important to your loved one in his/her memory.
- Consult a therapist or counselor for extra advice and support. The holidays are especially tough, so this may be the time to talk to someone.
- Make a memorial ornament, wreath, or other decoration in honor of your loved one.
- Visit your loved one’s grave site and leave a present. Something you know he or she would have loved to get in Christmas.
- Do not do anything that is going to cause you stress or anxiety. You have enough with your grieving.
- Journal when you are having an especially bad day.
- Skip holiday events if you are in holiday overload.
- Don’t feel guilty.
- Don’t get trapped. When you go to holiday events, drive yourself so you can leave if it gets to be too much.
- Pull out old photo albums and spend some time on the holiday looking at photos.
- Make a dish that your loved one used to make. Don’t get discouraged if you try to make their dish and you fail. We’ve all been there (or, at least I’ve been there!).
- If leaving an empty seat is too depressing, invite someone who doesn’t have any family to spend the holiday with.
- Don’t send holiday cards this year if it is too sad or overwhelming.
- Put out a photo table with photos of your loved one at holiday celebrations in the past.
- Go to a grief group for extra support.
- Remember that crying is okay.
- Coping gets a bit easier when volunteering in your loved one’s memory.
- Ignore people who want to tell you what you “should” do for the holiday. Listen to yourself, trust yourself.
- Watch the food. Food can make us feel better in the short term. Don’t deprive yourself, but be careful that you don’t let food become your holiday comfort. Watch the booze. Alcohol can become a dangerous “friend” when we are grieving.
- Say yes to help. There will be people who want to help and may offer their support. Take them up on their offers.
- Ask for help. This can be super-hard if it isn’t your style, but it is important. Asking others to help with cooking, shopping, or decorating can be a big relief.
- Write a journal.
- Practice self-care: hair, clothing, hygiene.
- Support kids by doing a memorial grief activity together.
- Try to enjoy yourself. The holidays will be tough, but there will also be love and joy.
- Have in mind that it’s okay to be happy – this doesn’t diminish how much you love and miss the person who isn’t there this holiday.
Happy Saturnalia 2018 … a little bit of History
December 17-23 Predating the birth of Jesus by centuries, this Ancient Roman celebration, in honor of the God Saturn, is marked by parties, gift-giving, and role reversals.
The first-century AD poet Gaius Valerius Catullus described Saturnalia as ‘the best of times’: dress codes were relaxed, small gifts such as dolls, candles and caged birds were exchanged.
Saturnalia saw the inversion of social roles. The wealthy were expected to pay the month’s rent for those who couldn’t afford it, masters and slaves to swap clothes. Family households threw dice to determine who would become the temporary Saturnalian monarch. The poet Lucian of Samosata (AD 120-180) has the god Cronos (Saturn) say in his poem, Saturnalia:
‘During my week the serious is barred: no business allowed. Drinking and being drunk, noise and games of dice, appointing of kings and feasting of slaves, singing naked, clapping … an occasional ducking of corked faces in icy water – such are the functions over which I preside.’
Saturnalia originated as a farmer’s festival to mark the end of the autumn planting season in honour of Saturn (satus means sowing). Numerous archaeological sites from the Roman coastal province of Constantine, now in Algeria, demonstrate that the cult of Saturn survived there until the early third century AD.
Saturnalia grew in duration and moved to progressively later dates under the Roman period. During the reign of the Emperor Augustus (63 BC-AD 14), it was a two-day affair starting on December 17th. By the time Lucian described the festivities, it was a seven-day event. Changes to the Roman calendar moved the climax of Saturnalia to December 25th, around the time of the date of the winter solstice.
From around 1583 the Church of Scotland ( Presbyterian) discouraged ‘Yule’ celebrations. The church believed that there was no basis for celebrating the day as it didn’t reflect what was in the bible. There are even records of some people being arrested over unlawful celebrations during
the years it was officially banned.
‘Christmas Day’ only became a public holiday in Scotland in 1958.
When something is just ‘made-up’ the permutations can be endless.
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