It's the holiday season, my dear families and friends, and in this time, so many of us experience an array of emotions. Many parents feel that the holidays should be a time of joy, but the reality can often be that the holiday season is filled with grief, loss, and longing. We miss those we love, and our mental health suffers.
As a mental health advocate and a supporter of giving yourself grace, I want to share some helpful tips for connecting with your vulnerability, being open to memories, coping, healing, and acknowledging your emotions.
Acknowledge the way you are feeling. If someone close to you recently passed away or you are unable to be with loved ones for any reason, it is perfectly normal and understandable to grieve and feel sad. Take the time you need to release these feelings through tears and conversations. The holiday season does not mean that grieving stops, and give yourself grace.
Connections. When you are feeling alone, seek connection. We all need a sense of belonging, and it is important to seek out community through social support through your interests, passions, faith, and values. It's 2020, and there are opportunities to connect online now more than ever. These groups and friendships can bring you both support and companionship. Reach out to your loved ones, such as a trusted family member or dear friend. I also recommend giving to feel a sense of connection. Through connecting to an organization you support and donating your time and support, connections are felt and made.
Be real. The holidays in now way need to be perfect. This is real life. Give yourself grace, and remember that the only constant in life is change. Traditions can change as your family dynamics change. Sometimes family members are pulled in so many directions, it's important to be realistic that not every family member can attend family events all at the same time, and we need to be realistic and compassionate.
Set aside differences. Part of loving one another is loving your family members for all that they are. We don't have to agree upon everything, and we can love each other no matter what. Have a listening ear. Be open to conversations, and if you disagree, give each other grace. We all have our own stories and experiences bringing us into our own belief systems. Losing loved ones over differing opinions isn't healthy so much of the time.