The time is almost here for many of us to savor the joy and laughter of special family celebrations. It’s a time to reflect on the many blessings of the year and to understand how fortunate most of us are. It’s a time to understand that today is different than last year or ten years or twenty years ago and it will be very different than next year or five years from now. What is important, is that we really appreciate the time we have, now, with our family and friends. As we gather to celebrate the things that are important to us, we are instilling in our children what our values are, the things that are important to us, and in time, will become important to them.
As we move through the years, it seems that it’s less about the gifts and more about the relationships, it’s more about the time with people we love and care for and less about the decorations. During this week, make it a point to just stop in your home and take a mental picture. This may serve as a snapshot in time that will carry you through challenging days ahead. Savor the moment, cherish the memories.
While many of us are counting our blessings, I’m reminded too often of those that struggle through the holidays because they have lost someone they loved. I don’t pretend to have answers, but I did find the following list that may offer some suggestions for consideration.
- Light a candle every day in memory of the one who is gone
- Avoid high expectations during the holidays, let some things slide and let others help you work through your grief just by listening. Decide what you want to do, pick a few special things and give yourself permission that you don’t have to do everything with everyone.
- Begin a list of things you are thankful for. Writing our emotions down is helpful in the healing process as each day goes by.
- Do activities as you have energy. Grief is hard work and our bodies often feel the results. Don’t forget to take care of yourself by eating right and drinking lots of water. Put a note on your bathroom mirror or refrigerator that serves as a reminder to take care of you.
- If you can, take others up on the invitation to go do things. Out for dinner, or a movie might fill your thoughts with other things to help pass the time.
- Traditions are a tricky one. Some like to keep them the same to honor the memories and others like to change them and start new ones. Communication is the key with other family members to see what they are thinking. Ask yourself, are you doing this because you want to or feel you should do? Give yourself permission to change things this year.
- Strive for getting some exercise, it is a good antidote to depression. Try some relaxation techniques that give you control and don’t rely on alcohol to hide from the pain.
- Make plans for after the holidays to give you something to look forward to.
- Rely on your faith, and finally
- Don’t be shy or embarrassed to let others know what you emotional support you need from them. Friends and family want to help but they may not be good mind readers, share with them as you can.
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.
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