Managing Holiday Sadness and Grief
Our teams at Bay Psychiatric Associates and BayTMS feel a responsibility to share what we have learned to those in our community who struggle with sadness during the holiday season. We recognize that for some, the holiday may not be a time of joy. Additional demands of the holiday can cause an increase in stress, feelings of loneliness, and those who are grieving may find the holiday season worsens their symptoms.
The fact is, many people struggle during the holidays, and there are steps that you can take, and those around you that care about you can take, to eliminate or reduce these burdens. We have assembled some thoughts to consider and share with others, along with resources for a deeper dive into these subjects. We acknowledge that many of what we share is similar to what others have written, and that is because some simple steps of personal care can make a big difference in improving resilience.
Some resilience strategies for a more enjoyable holiday
1. Be realistic with your expectations. Consider the following:
Being present in a relationship is the essence of a relationship. Giving a loved one a handwritten card can be more meaningful than navigating stressful shopping trips.
Learn to set your boundaries and say no when you need to. We all know what this means, but do we always do it? If you aren’t up to seeing friends, schedule a time with them after the holidays – this way, you know you will be able to connect with them, and you can relieve the stress of trying to fit them into an already hectic schedule.
2. Set aside differences – during these divisive times, you can achieve more satisfying personal connections if you are able to ‘turn the other cheek’ - seek out the positive aspects of those you are with, and find pleasure in finding out ways you do agree. Also, be intentional about limiting time with those that you may already know you cannot have a good connection with.
3. Focus on keeping healthy habits. Sleep, eat and think well. Take breaks throughout the day and express gratitude to yourself and others – seek out holiday cheer. Our February Blog: A Guide to Help you Reduce Depression Symptoms has more excellent tips for staying healthy,
4. Spend time with others. Don’t spend time alone if it causes loneliness. Be proactive. Reach out to friends now and plan your time.
Those struggling with loneliness may find this article helpful.
5. Acknowledge, share and seek encouragement. If the holiday becomes unmanageable, find support from family, friends and certainly your healthcare professional.
If sadness over the holidays becomes too deep for you or someone you care about,
see (or ask them to see) a healthcare professional immediately.
For those who are coping with grief
We would like to offer a few additional resources that offer support for those still grieving. Please take the time to do a deeper dive, and then share this blog with others you feel may benefit from these recommendations this holiday season.