Festivities are Over
The lights and Christmas tree have come down, Christmas cards have stopped coming and friends and family have gone home. Reality sets in. You are left thinking, “what next?” You are not alone. Some studies show that as many as 25 percent of Americans suffer from mild to full-blown depression after the holidays. For those who are already grieving a loss, the weeks after a holiday can feel like a rug has been pulled out from under them.
It is sometimes a struggle to put one foot in front of the other when grieving. Add the stress and expectations of the holiday season and it can feel like you have been pushed to your limit. Once again the reality of losing your loved one re-surfaces.
There are some things you can do about it.
Take Care of Yourself
If you are in a Grief Support Group, talk about it. A support group is a safe place to talk with others about the emotions you are feeling. Your sharing will encourage others to share about those same feelings.
Take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet, get rest and needed sleep and walk or exercise if possible.
Call a friend or family member for support. Sometimes just talking and having someone on the other end of the phone is relief in itself. Also find things you can laugh about. Sharing humor is a great way to lift the spirits.
Do something positive for yourself every day. Take a little extra time in that hot shower, take a hot bubble bath, listen to music you enjoy, make yourself a cup of coffee or hot tea and sit down and just savor it, read a good book.
Take Care of Others
Give to others. When you give outside yourself it can be healing. It is transformative to do those random acts of kindness. Volunteer, take food to a shut-in, help out at your local school, library or church. Focusing on other’s needs can have a positive effect on the giver.
Find things to look forward to. Plan a lunch date with a friend, go to a movie, plan to see a play or music performance, plan a vacation, join a class for a new hobby or interest.
Don’t seclude yourself. When you are feeling depressed, lonely or sad, reach out to those who love you. You don’t have to go through this alone. Call hospice to get information on a support group in your area or speak to a grief support counselor.
The Blues Won’t Last Forever
The post-holiday blues will pass. Take time to shift the focus to everyday things that give you pleasure. Stay connected with family and friends and be patient and gentle with yourself.
“Have patience with all the world,
But first of all with yourself.”
-Francis De Sales
By Christie Gillett, Grief Support Coordinator