The First Holiday Without Mom, Dad or a Lover: Four steps to take to ease into this transition in life.
Right now, millions of people who have recently lost their mom, dad, a partner or a family member, are heading into their first holiday season without their loved ones.
While many people struggle during the holidays with depression and or anxiety, this group can be especially hit hard because there is no pattern set in how to deal with the loss.
For 28 years, number one best-selling author, counselor and life coach David Essel, has helped take people through the grieving process to prepare themselves for life without a loved one. And during the holiday season there are certain steps that we can take in order to learn how to deal with such a tragic loss at this time of year.
Here are David’s top four tips on how to prepare yourself for the holiday season without your loved ones.
Number one. “If you haven’t gone through the grieving process with a grief support group, a counselor, minister or coach it’s never too late to start it. This in my opinion is the number one key to be prepared for learning how to deal with the loss of a loved one during the holidays.
You can Google in your area a professional to work with, or a support group to join, and don’t think it’s too late. Even two or three meetings, or two or three counseling sessions can help to alleviate a portion of the pain and discomfort that will be felt during your first holiday season without someone who had been a very important part of your life for probably years.
Number two. Remove the desire for isolation. If you’re heading into the season without your mom, dad, lover or family member who used to bring you great joy during the holiday season, this can be incredibly difficult and one of the ways many people deal with it is to increase their isolation.
They feel in many ways that it’s too difficult to bring their sadness or depression out to other family members or friends, so they would rather stay indoors, behind closed doors than to reach out for the support that may be around them right now.
I recommend to my clients to at least be active one day a week during the holiday season. They don’t have to attend every function during the holidays but I think it’s crucially important that they remove themselves from their homes and experience at the very least the joy that others are feeling during this time of year. This one step can help ease them into a holiday season without someone very important to them.
Number three. I encourage all of my clients to write letters to their loved one that is no longer with them, sharing with them their sadness, how much they miss them, and also recalling stories of joy that they experienced together during the holiday season.
This Yin/Yang approach allows you to deal with the reality of sadness and at the same time allows you to live through your memories the beautiful times that you shared together during this time of year.
Number four. Upon my recommendation, several of my clients actually set up small shrines, or alters if you will, with pictures of their loved ones and maybe their favorite holiday photo. This is a way we can keep our mom, dad, lover or family member close to our heart during the holiday season.
Again, I will recommend, that you reach out to a professional and sit down and open your heart and soul to one who will know how to walk you through the grieving process, as well as the recovery process during the holidays.
A client that I’m currently working with right now that lost her son at a very young age several years ago had swept her emotions underneath a rug for the last several holiday seasons. But this year will be very different.
As we worked through her grieving process for the first time since her son left us, she is now pulling out pictures, ornaments and more that he used to love as a young boy so she can remember him with joy. That doesn’t mean that the sadness is gone, because she feels that too during our sessions, but for the first time she’s balancing out the sadness with positive memories and it’s making a huge difference in her life.
And with the right help you can follow in her footsteps and do the same very thing.”
If you need help through the grieving process, or with your depression during the holiday season, feel free to reach out to David directly at www.davidessel.com