The holiday season, often synonymous with joy and celebration, can be a challenging time for those who carry painful memories. Whether you're grappling with the loss of a loved one, dealing with heartbreak, or facing other difficult circumstances, the festive cheer around can exacerbate the pain.
Knowing some of you are in pain right now, when you deserve to be delighting in the season makes us sad. And so we wanted to offer some practical tips on how to navigate the holiday season when it feels anything but jolly.
The first step in coping with holiday pain is to acknowledge and accept your emotions. It's okay to feel sadness, grief, or loneliness during this time. Trying to suppress these emotions may intensify the pain.
Give yourself permission to feel and express what's in your heart. Sometimes you need a good cry (we think the shower is the perfect place to let your emotions out), to talk to a friend, to journal or to paint what you are feeling. However you do it sister, be honest with yourself and let those fee-fees out.
If traditional holiday activities trigger painful memories, consider creating new traditions. Whether it's volunteering, taking a short trip, or engaging in a hobby, finding alternative ways to celebrate can help shift the focus and bring a sense of purpose.
We know this can be hard. Sometimes we just don't have the emotional energy to be creative, but remember, it doesn't have to be big and spectacular. Mark the season in a new way.
You don't have to navigate this difficult time alone. Reach out to friends, family, or support groups who understand your situation. Sharing your feelings with others can be therapeutic and remind you that you're not alone in your struggles.
When you feel like no one understands, be gracious. Not everyone has been through what you have been through. Recognising this will lower your expectations of others and help you to appreciate the level of support they can give you.
The pressure to conform to the festive norm can be overwhelming. Set realistic expectations for yourself during this season. It's okay to say no to events or traditions that feel too painful. Prioritise your well-being and do what feels right for you.
Many of us often feel like we have to fake it for friends and family. Pretending that everything is fine can be excruciating. This is where gratitude comes into play. Focusing on the little things can help get you through.
Self-care is crucial, especially when you're dealing with emotional pain. Prioritise activities that bring you comfort and peace, whether it's taking long walks, practicing mindfulness, or indulging in a favourite hobby.
Nurturing your mental and emotional well-being is an essential part of navigating the holiday season. We suggest creating a self care plan and don't feel guilty about spoiling yourself. When buying gifts for others, also snag one or two for yourself. Simply by planning to be good to yourself can help you to get through.
Create a space to honour and remember the source of your pain. This could be through a memorial, a letter, or a simple ritual. Acknowledging the significance of the season in relation to your emotions can be a powerful step towards healing.
If you are missing a loved one, don’t be afraid to leave them a chair, hang a memento bauble on the Christmas tree, put up photographs of past Christmases with them or mention them in a Christmas prayer or speech. Honouring them is beautiful and will help you to embrace healing.
If the pain becomes overwhelming, seeking professional help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Therapists and counsellors are trained to provide support during difficult times. They can offer coping strategies and a safe space to explore and process your emotions. Be brave and book in sister!
While the holiday season can be a painful reminder of what once was, it also presents an opportunity for healing and growth. By acknowledging your emotions, creating new traditions, seeking support, and prioritising self-care, you can navigate the season with resilience and compassion for yourself.Remember, healing is a journey, and it's okay to take it one step at a time.
And so, from us to you and yours, may peace, comfort and joy be in your hearts and minds this Christmas. Tis the season to hold onto hope and believe in beautiful new possibilities, despite the pain.
Be good to yourself and know you are loved.