‘There’s nothing wrong with you.’ Learning to cope with holiday grief
The holiday season is often a season of joy, but it can also bring sorrows if you’re grieving a loss.
“You might be laughing and experiencing joy,” said therapist Jody Baumstein. “And within seconds feel a deep wave of sadness and be crying and there's nothing wrong with you."
This time of year, Baumstein, who works at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Strong4Life, says it’s important to practice self-compassion and allow yourself to experience all of the emotions that come with the holidays.
“Let go of this idea that things should be a certain way,” said Baumstein. “Sometimes in our grief we feel this immense amount of shame, like we're doing something wrong, but it's hard because it's hard."
When it comes to traditions, it’s OK to change them or skip them altogether, and of course it is important to find the right way to respectfully honor your loved ones.
"Do it in a way that feels authentic to you,” said Baumstein. “That might mean cooking their favorite meal or playing music that they loved to listen to during the holidays, or even working on a project. Something that honors their memory."