As I was growing up, I never understood why the holidays would be filled with sadness or grief.
I grew up in a happy family with no real issues, so the holidays always felt like something where we got to spend more time together and travel the world!
Well, the day after Thanksgiving in 2019—as I share in my third book, An Uncompromised Life—I found out I was pregnant, and within six days, I let my child go. So that really changed my paradigm of why people would feel grief and sadness during the holidays.
I began to see that every year, people lose people who are close to them in unexpected ways—families go through a separation, some parents cannot afford gifts, and there are many other reasons why the holidays can be filled with grief.
So, what can we begin to do to navigate the challenging emotions of grief?
1. Accept All The Feelings
First, we must begin to accept that we are feeling sadness, grief, and bitterness about the holiday cheer. And in this process of accepting our feelings, we are no longer trying to resist or avoid them. We must think of our feelings like a child within us who is trying to express themselves. By no means would we avoid or resist our child trying to express themselves in this world. So, the first stage of anything is to be in full acceptance of what we are feeling. When we begin to do this, we allow healing and miracles to occur from within us.
Beginning to be in a place of acceptance of your feelings looks like this:
1. You no longer turn to your phone or the television to numb or avoid feeling sad.
2. You repeat mantras throughout the day, like:
>> I accept and approve of myself.
>> I am exactly where I am meant to be.
>> This too shall pass.
3. You allow yourself to sit in stillness with your uncomfortable feelings instead of avoiding them or calling a friend to talk.
2. Trust Life’s Adventures
As I write a chapter in my third book, we must begin to trust the adventure of life. The adventure of life isn’t always going to be butterflies and rainbows. I share a true story in this chapter of a young woman losing her partner at sea, but in her mind, she knew he was there the whole time and it’s part of the reason she survived.
Sometimes we experience grief to open our hearts and minds into the world of imagination to see how whatever we are experiencing that feels painful is guiding us to see the world through different eyes. This is powerful because the majority of humans do not begin to see the world of magic and endless possibilities until they have endured great pain and suffering.
I am not saying this is required to begin to trust that there is a great adventure unfolding in your life. However, this does happen frequently. You begin to trust your life adventure by observing the thoughts inside your head and beginning to shift them. For example, instead of thinking, “When will this be over?” you think, “What is this emotion or life experience teaching me?” Instead of thinking, “I hate the holidays!” you transition this thought into, “This time of the year isn’t my favorite, but I love summer!”
3. Get Out of Your Environment
One of the most powerful ways to experience and release grief is to change your environment. During the holidays, instead of staying in your home, maybe book a cruise, rent a house on the ocean or in the mountains, visit your favorite Airbnb, or go to your local coffee shop a few times a week just to sit and enjoy your coffee. When you’re experiencing grief, do something to get out of your normal, everyday habit and put yourself in new environments.
This allows you to form new memories and create new habits for the life that is ahead of you and that you are yet to experience. Grief stems from memories you have that you feel you will not experience again, or comes from painful memories that are causing you to feel guilty and shameful. When you put yourself into new environments, you allow new memories to be created, so eventually the feelings of grief will pass through you much quicker instead of consuming you—as you have a new life you will be accustomed to living and showing up for.
Try putting yourself in a different environment by just sitting quietly and listening to a podcast like mine, The Colleen Gallagher Podcast. Check out episodes 55, 60, and 64 for more advice on prevailing through grief.
I hope this serves.