By: Lizette Vasquez-Pinto, M.Ed.,LPC-Intern Supervised by Tiffany Priska, MA,LPC-S
The holidays are approaching quickly… like now quickly! I got you!
The holidays can be an amazing time that you look forward to but they can be easily as difficult as well. A lot of people experience many different types of grief during the holidays. I recently read a post by Alyssa Marie Wellness from Los Angeles California where she stated that all grief is valid and that there are different types of grief that aren’t always death. She listed infertility/parenthood, divorce, physical mobility, your health, friendships, career, and a loved ones health. It got me thinking about me, and some of my clients, and what I can do to help walk alongside them through the holidays.
I am a child of divorced parents. They divorced when I was an adult but it doesn’t take away the grief that I feel, especially during the holidays. I feel anxiety, stress, and depressed moods at times too. I feel it when planning for the holidays especially. I grieve the traditions that we had together and the time that we all spent as a family, that now is really different. It doesn’t just look different, it feels different.
To help I grabbed a couple of my resources and I am going to provide some tips as well as an activity that you can do from home to help through your grieving process. I also want to invite you to a group that I will be hosting for us to be able to have a safe, welcoming place where you can share only as much as you are comfortable with and create a craft together.
Here are some tips, I grabbed my favorite, as well as an activity from Whole Person:
- Get plenty of rest.
- Set reasonable expectations for yourself. Don’t try to do everything and see everyone.
- Try to tell those around you what you really need, since they may not know how to help you.
- Acknowledge to yourself the occasion may be painful at times.
- Let yourself feel whatever you feel.
- Don’t be afraid to rethink traditions.
- If celebrating doesn’t feel right, try volunteering this year.
- Honor the memory of a loved one.
- Remember, it is okay to laugh and enjoy yourself.
Holiday traditions is the one that’s the most difficult for me. Not just because of the divorce but also because of loved ones that I have lost, for example my grandmother whose birthday was actually on Christmas day.
For this activity, I would say put it in your journal if you have one, or just grab a sheet of paper. In the first column list the holidays, in the next column list the past traditions, in the following column make a list of stressors for example family, finances, feelings, planning etc. In the last column write a list of possible changes of the tradition. I’ll attach my example as a guide.
I will end with the following affirmation that has helped me in hopes it will help you too. I am moving to a new normal. Repeat it daily and create a journal entry of what it means to you.My new normal is different for me almost daily, and that’s okay. Happy Holidays!
For more information on my Holidays Grief Group email me at: [email protected]
Love, Lizette Vasquez-Pinto, M.Ed, LPC-Intern