Ten years ago I went through a significant break-up. It started in early November, and the full process did not end until the next year. Everyone around me seemed to be giving thanks and wishing me “happy holidays.” I yearned to crawl into a hole and hibernate. In addition to the loss of the relationship and the physical security of my home, I also lost my dreams and hopes for that relationship. I found myself swimming in the waters of grief. In the wake of COVID19 many have lost jobs, homes, loved ones, and sense of security in the way that life is supposed to be.

So, how can you cope with this season without hibernating until spring?

  1. Join a support group or a grief group. Although being with others does not take the pain or hurt of the loss away, being with others who are grieving can be a balm to the soul. In addition, support groups often offer companionship as well as insight when groups are facilitated by trained professionals. Both Hospice and David Kessler provide support, resources, and connection. Additional resources can be found at grief.com

  2. Schedule time to be sad. Rather than fighting off your tears, make room for them. Pull out your calendar and schedule time to be sad. Allowing and honoring your feelings can help your body, mind, and spirit to integrate the loss.

  3. Develop Plan B. Although Plan A may be to go to a familiar family or friend event, you may find that parts of you don’t desire Plan A. If you develop Plan B, this gives yourself permission to change your mind, decline an invitation, or adapt your plan to meet your needs. Grief expert, David Kessler, reminds us that our loss and grief is as “individual as we are.” He also reminds, “Now more than ever, be gentle with yourself.”

  4. Create a new tradition or take a trip. Sometimes a change of pace or scenery can help you to take a breath and to gain a new perspective. Taking some space away from all the reminders of tradition can be a gift to give yourself.

  5. Schedule time to engage in activities that renew you. Consider spending some of your holiday funds on yourself through taking a yoga class, getting a massage, purchasing fresh flowers for your home, or other ways that you can care for yourself.

  6. Engage in spiritual practices. For Christians, focus on the season of Advent. Advent is a contemplative season that invites us to recognize the spaces and places in ourselves where we feel alone, lost, and anguished. Although Advent moves toward the in-breaking of the Divine, in the season of Advent, Christians recognize and name the places in life where they experience the absence of a Higher Power.

  7. Volunteer Your Time. Spending time giving to others can also be a way to help you widen your perspective and to help bring a sense of meaning and purpose. Check out your local United Way or Volunteer Match to find a variety of opportunities.

You do not need to go through the holidays alone or suffer through with a brave face. For more information or support, you can reach out to me.