Season’s Greetings: Gratitude and Grief
As the seasons change from fall to winter, it is hard to miss the reminders of the upcoming holidays. To some, the holidays come with gatherings, to others, it may come with a sense of grieving, particularly for those who it is their first year without a loved one. To help prepare for the upcoming holiday season, below are some tips from the Skokie Health and Human Services Department to make this year easier while on your journey.
- Honor your feelings: The stages of grief don’t follow a singular pattern and is not the same for everyone. It is okay to not be in the holiday spirit. Similarly, give yourself permission to feel joy even while grieving and finding holiday cheer. Emotions will continue to change. Give yourself the space to feel.
- Set boundaries: Holiday events can be draining and letting go of the “expectations” of what traditions may look like may ease the pressure of making everyone else happy. Make plans that feel comfortable for you. Also, making exit plans for gatherings if you feeling overwhelmed such as driving yourself, letting the host know you may leave early or bring a close friend who understands that triggers might come up and will leave an event with you.
- Write gratitude reminders: Be kind and patient with yourself. Finding three things to be grateful for throughout the day has shown to ease the process of grieving, increase mental wellness and reduce emotional stress.
- Acknowledgement: There is no right or wrong way to remember someone who has passed during a holiday meal, event, or a display. A couple of ideas would be a moment of silence before a meal, donations made in a loved one’s name, volunteering somewhere that was important to your loved one or getting creative with your personalized ideas brings your loved ones closer during the holidays.
If you or a loved one is experiencing a behavioral, mental health crisis or having suicidal thoughts, please call or text 988. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is open 24/7 and can provided resources on suicide prevention and mental wellness. To learn more about local resources, please reach out to Health and Human Services at 847/933-8208.