Friday, December 18, 2015

The Grieving Introvert's Guide to Surviving the Holidays

We introverts already have to navigate the holidays carefully and build in time to recharge.  However, add grieving a loved one and the holidays become even more complicated.  Here is how I - a fellow grieving introvert - am getting through this holiday season:

Find meaning.  If you want to do activities this holiday season, put your energy towards meaningful things.  Bake your loved one's favorite cookies.  Make a memorial ornament.  Do an act of good or kindness in your loved one's memory.  

Restore.  Treat yourself to something that is healing.  A massage.  Yoga.  Your favorite walk.  A soul run.  Writing.  Some quiet time reading.  Try to get a little fresh air every day, even if it is cold.  

Connect.  Grief makes us feel isolated from the rest of the world.  Make meaningful connections this holiday season.  Spend time with the people who you love and warm your heart.  Or maybe a big function is more appealing because you can be more invisible.  Or alone!  Turn down invitations for events where there will be a lot of small-talk.  Allow yourself to leave whenever you want.  Don’t want to host a big Christmas dinner?  Don't!

Forget the gifts or shop online.  People who love you understand if gifts are overlooked this year.  If you want to shop, skip the dizzying overcrowded mall and stick to online.  

Feel.  Cry.  Smile.  Wail.  Laugh.  Whatever emotion you are feeling - and sometimes they change in a nanosecond - feel it.  Don’t push away a feeling because you think you need to be “happy” over the holidays. 

Indulge.  After the shock of grief wears off, I have an urge to pack up and go somewhere far, far away.  Maybe this is a good time to get away from the memories of your old traditions and try something else.  Or a time to splurge on a special item.

Forgive yourself.  This holiday season, there are no expectations.  This is a time to keep life simple and quiet all the “extra.”  Prioritize who you spend your time with and keep it meaningful.  Otherwise, it will be too draining during this already deflating time.  Self-care and healing are the most important this holiday season.  “No” is a perfectly acceptable response and let go of any guilt associated with it.   

I hope your holidays are quiet, healing, and meaningful. 

Stillbirth, grief, introvert, holidays

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