"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." - Matthew 5:4
The holiday season is a time of joy for many individuals. After all, this is a time when friends and families get together, celebrating Christmas and the end of the year. But, there are some among us who experience the holidays in a completely different way. Those who are mourning the recent passing of a loved one rarely enjoy the seasonal wonders. The same goes for many who lost someone a long time ago, but still experience the weight of that loss this time of year.
Both cases are completely normal, being that the holiday season includes cherishing the people we love. Anyone who is grieving will feel the impact of their loss more strongly because of this. That is the reason why so many people feel depressed and sad while others around them seem to be enjoying their lives to the fullest.
Yet, it is important to note that this does not have to be the case. There are several ways to overcome depression, including during the holiday season. Here are three approaches that have proven effective both in counseling and in everyday life.
Acceptance That Grief Will Occur
Grief recovery is a normal process that takes place when a person loses someone they love. It is unpleasant and tedious, often even heartbreaking, but grief is not meaningless. Thanks to grief, the person learns to let go of the individual that meant so much to them. At the same time, grief teaches them how to live with the same sadness and how to overcome it.
Without grief, a person could never come to terms with what happened. This is why a person who is grieving should accept that these negative emotions are a part of the grief recovery process. Being aware that the holiday season is a big trigger also helps. This allows them to prepare for it to a certain degree. If they start off the holiday season with this idea in their mind, the feelings lose some of their power and cannot crash down on them. This defining of expectations is also important because it shows that the person is willing to adapt to their new reality.
Avoid Self-Medicating and Isolation
It is counterproductive for a person to believe that they are somehow “wounded” by the grief they feel. This opens up a door that can lead to self-medication and/or isolation which are not good for anyone. It is true that the holiday season comes with an easy access to alcoholic drinks and other psychoactive substances. It is important to know that these are a short fix. After their effects pass, the grief will return, often in a stronger manner then before.
The same is true for isolating oneself from others who might be feeling festive. With loneliness, a person will only allow for the same cycle of sadness and depression to become stronger. Overcoming depression and grief cannot happen on its own. Instead, a person must work to achieve this, often through unpleasant emotions and contact with those who are not grieving. Self-medication and isolation are only means of anesthetizing these feelings. This actually blocks people from overcoming grief.
Celebrate The Loved One With Others You Love
Finally, the last option for overcoming grief during the holiday season includes the help of other individuals. A person who is grieving still has other persons they love and whose company they enjoy. For the holidays, they should try to get together with them and spend some good times in each other’s company.
This is also the moment to share memories of the deceased person because this process bridges the gap between the past and the present. Sometimes, this might include tears, but like counseling shows, sharing can be very therapeutic during the grief recovery process.
With these three ways of overcoming sadness and grief during the holiday season, anyone can take steps to embark on a new beginning. At the same time, they can also know that the memory of their loved one will never fade.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR John Gladson is a guest writer for Christian Counseling Finder. He is an avid reader, especially when it comes to history books. In his youth, he spent weeks in the wilderness camping and hiking, but a couple of decades later, he has exchanged that for an occasional weekend in the mountains. He loves his wife and two grown-up children more than anything in the world, but their black labrador Terrence keeps (successfully) entering that same circle.