Sniffles is NOT just for little kids. Because we all know that
adults are big kids too, and that a long time ago, some
longer...some shorter, we experienced difficult things in life when
we were kids. A grandmother at 85 years old, was also once a scared
6 year child that maybe had her first experience with the death of
a loved one. I would like to put some things here that might help
our big kids too. If you would like to add something, please
feel free to contact me anytime.
Here's a scenario that I hope you find helpful...
A woman had a son whose friend's father died 3 months
ago. This child at age 12 never talks about
it. They wondered if there was something they
should do, or should they just leave it alone? They found that
when the time was appropriate, they told the boy that they were
very sorry that his dad died. Even though the boy didn't really say
anything, they knew that he appreciated them for opening the door
for a future conversation. When people are grieving, they get
confronted by a number of people asking "what happened"?
Saying you're sorry about the death shows someone that you care,
and not pressing the issue or forcing someone to talk about the
death is best. They will do that in their own time.
I was reading on the internet about some ideas for handling
grief through the holidays...this was nice, I hope it helps
Anticipatory grief - a feeling of loss before a death or dreaded
event occurs - is a hard journey. Holidays make it even harder. At
a time when you're supposed to feel happy and joyful, you feel sad
and anxious. You're on pins and needles and wonder what will happen
Remember, your grief stems from love, and you may find comfort
in that. Holidays don't erase your reasons for feeling sad and
lonely, according to the National Mental Health Association, and
"there is room for these feelings to be present." So accept your
feelings and, if you feel like crying, go ahead and do it.
Crying will help you to feel better. Here are some other ways
you can help yourself.
BE REALISTIC. You don't have to create a "perfect" holiday. Do
you really need to knit sweaters for everyone? No. Do you really
need to serve a six course meal? No. What you need to do is set
realistic goals, get organized, and pace yourself. Rather than
focusing on one day, the National Mental Health Association
recommends focusing on "a season of holiday sentiment."
ASK FOR HELP. You don't need to do everything yourself. Family
members and friends will be glad to help with planning, decorating,
and cooking. One family member could bring a traditional dish, such
as pumpkin pie. Another family member could provide linens and
launder them afterwards. Your request for help makes others feel
BUDGET. Finances can cause stress at any time, but they cause
lots of stress during the holidays. Set a budget for gifts,
decorations, and entertaining. Staying within your budget will make
you feel better about the holidays and yourself. Your gifts don't
have to be new. Holiays are a perfect time to pass along family
possessions - a flower vase, historic photo, or beloved book. Stick
a short note about the item in with your gift.
EAT RIGHT. Because nutrition affects brain chemistry, you need
to eat balanced meals during the holidays. Yummy as they look, pass
up the candy and cookies that come your way. Choose lots of fruits
and veggies from the buffet table and one dessert. Keeping a supply
of healthy snacks on hand will also help you to eat right.
DRINK MODERATELY. Alcohol makes the holiday blues worse,
according to the National Mental Health Association. Too much
alcohol can cause you to say things you'll regret later. If you
drink alcohol, drink in moderation or skip it all together. Drink
sparkling cider, non-alcoholic punch, or flavored water instead of
GET ENOUGH SLEEP. You've probably thinking, "Yeah, right." But
you need sleep to survive the holidays. Getting enough sleep is
hard to do with so many holiday events going on. However, you may
be selective about what you attend, leave early, and get a good
night's sleep. Balance a late night with a short nap the next
LIGHT YOUR WAY. Vanerbilt University wellness experts say more
people get depressed during the holidays than at any other time.
Some of these people have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). If you
live in a cold climate and the days are short you may wish to be
evaluated for SAD. Phototherapy (intense lighting) is usualy
recommended for those with SAD. Even if you don' have SAD well lit
rooms will lift your spirits.
EXERCISE. Daily physical activity is a proven way to cope with
stress. Walk around town or the local mall and look at holiday
decorations. Play catch with your kids or grandkids. Bundle up and
go cross country skiing. A half hour of physical activity per day
helps to chase the blues away.
BE CONCILATORY. According to http://www.MayoClinic.com family tensions may
flare during the holidays if members are "thrust together for
several days." Holidays aren't the time to settle family disputes,
they're a time for concilatory and kind behavior. Discuss family
grievances at a later date.
HELP OTHERS. Holidays are associated with families and
togetherness according to Jill RachBeisel, MD, Director of
Community Psychiatry at the University of Maryland. But, due to the
divorce rate and fragmented families, many don't have this kind of
holiay experience. Still, you may connect with a substitute family
by volunteering a a senior center, reading to shut-ins, or tutoring
MAKE NEW MEMORIES. The memories you make during this holiday
season may comfort you in the future. Take digital photos of
holiday events and put them on a CD. Send copies of the CD to all
family members. Every family has stories to tell and you may create
new memories by tape recording some of these stories. You may also
videotape holiday events.
SAVOR THE MOMENT. Though you are sorrowful, you're alive, able
to be with those you love and care about. Surround yourself with
life: family members, dear friends, colorful flowers, a
tail-wagging dog, and hobbies that make you happy. For every moment
of life - even the sorrowful ones - is a miracle.
Copyright 2005 by Harriet Hodgson. To learn more about her work
go to http://www.harriethodgson.com