The Holiday Season is upon us; a time of joy, sharing memories, being with the people we love. But for some, the Holidays present special challenges. People who have experienced loss such as the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job; those who have experienced a dramatic change in their lives such as moving from their family home to an independent living facility, assisted living or full care facility. The Health Education Center at Little Company of Mary Hospital presented “Turkey Swaportunities” at the monthly C.H.E.E.R. program and shared five important ways to embrace the joy of the season while letting go of some of the traditions we hold dear.
Be patient and realistic. Sometimes our own high expectations of the holidays set us up for disappointment. Plan ahead so that you are not overwhelmed. Look at your holiday traditions and decide what is really important to you. It’s okay to cross some things off your list. You can always add them on again if your circumstances allow. Choose what you can do and want to do and let that be enough.
Listen to your heart and acknowledge your limits. Spend quiet time before the rush of the holiday to truly recognize where you are today and what your needs are. Talk to your family and friends and let them know that you need to make some changes. It is okay to say no sometimes and even when you say yes, make the yes more of a maybe. Focus on taking care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Adapt cherished traditions. Just because your circumstances have changed doesn’t mean you have to completely cancel your holidays. Find a way to hold on to the most valuable core of the tradition and modify the way in which you celebrate that tradition.
Shed the tears that need to be shed, but look for the joy that is here today. Tears are a gift from God that enable us to express our most heartfelt emotions. Shedding those tears allows you to make room for new joys and memories that are waiting to be made. Continue to seek the joy, laughter, affection and companionship that we all need, especially during the holiday season.
Focus on the spiritual dimension of the holidays. Remember the true reason for the season and reflect on ways that you can deepen your appreciation of time honored traditions that bring meaning to your life.
In the words of Sadie Delaney, American educator and civil rights pioneer “Life is short, it’s up to you to make it sweet”. Based on the writings of Darcie D. Sims, Ph.D and Grief Counselor.