Okay, itís safe now. The worst is over. Come on out.
Gently. Thatís it. There! Good for you. Take a deep breath. Stretch. You made it.
The holidays are behind us. But before we go back to our regularly scheduled program, letís do something very important. Weíre going to jot some notes so weíre stronger for the next round. So print and use this page, or grab some paper and a writing utensil.
Things you want to avoid next round.
What worked this time.
Did you memorialize someone? What worked? What will you add or subtract next year?
Did you attend a special worship service? Is there one you wish you had? Write it down.
Was anything said that was helpful or comforting to you?
What brought happy tears?
What made you laugh?
Who would you like to see more of?
What caught you off guard? Think hard about this one, because we especially want to prepare for it next time.
Were you involved with a support group? Do you need to find one?
Is there something you wish you had had, that would have been helpful?
A note about food.
A note about music.
A note about decorations.
Writing a letter to someone that has died can be an important part of our healing. Did you do that during the holidays? To whom do you need to write?
What kind of anxiety behavior did you exhibit? (i.e., over/under eat, spend, over schedule)
What relaxation techniques worked for you, or should be employed?
What else do you want to remember for next year?
We must also be aware that some of what throws us for a loop is subconscious. The Christmas in July craft sales may not even make a blip on your radar. But waaay back in your mind, something cringes at the mention of the holiday season, and can affect your mood. So you may want to put a sticky note on the JULY page of your calendar, warning you that newspaper ads can be hazardous to your health that month. That way if you take a cleaver to the watermelon at the family picnic, you might have a clue as to whatís going on with you.
Sticky note OCTOBER to find agencies that will need volunteers during the holidays, and get on their lists.
Paperclip these sheets to the SEPTEMBER page of your calendar. Because youíre not necessarily looking for holiday decorations in September, you may not pay attention when they start to show up. But again, it registers in your subconscious. If you donít want to get derailed, start watching for that train. Take control of what affects you. If you are prepared for it, you may not crumble when the Boy Scouts ask you to order a wreath.
While planning and acting ahead may help you, accept that the whole world will not be working at the same pace. The holiday will come together, but not until the last minute. Deal with that.
Give yourself some love. Youíre not going to look like a 23 year old model by next December. Get over yourself. But you CAN look like a healthy, calm, well rested you by then. It starts now.
Other survival techniques may include
Holiday gift shopping all year
Baking in October, and freezing it
Plan your Christmas gathering for the week between Christmas and New Years, or January 6
Spend time in the self help section of the book store or library
Being there for someone who has recently suffered a loss
We can heal the planet, one broken heart at a time. It is communities like ours here at the Bereavement Page that will help bring