Christmas has now come and gone.
Those who are deeply grieving thought they could finally breathe a huge sigh of relief…yet some woke up today and didn’t feel the relief they thought they would feel. Some even woke up and felt worse.
Something I wish someone would’ve told me about the days following a holiday is that some tough emotions can follow along with them.
Today’s holiday tip? Be prepared for the depression, anxiety, and other surprising emotions that can follow Christmas, holidays, anniversaries, and other big life events…and come up with a plan for relaxation and how to best get through those times.
Many grievers will feel relieved that Christmas is now behind them, while others are confused why they now suddenly feel worse.
Emotions are so heightened before holidays, big days, or special occasions —in day-to-day life as well as grief—so after the holiday, event, or big day happens, those feelings can suddenly crash down…leaving you feeling depressed, anxious, a “void,” or defeated more than usual.
Depending on how big the aftermath was, the feelings that accompany big events can take you by surprise and throw you for a loop.
Always be kind to your heart, as well as compassionate and patient with yourself. Realize you’re not alone and what you’re feeling is normal.
Be prepared for crashes, as well as any random feelings, and practice seeking God, peace, and times of relaxation when the feelings become overwhelming.
There are many thoughtful ways to get through the tough emotions of grief, as well as many ways to relax. Try one of these 15 ideas – or creatively come up with your own:
- Pray—talk to God and share with Him all of your thoughts, feelings, fears, disappointments, worries, anxieties, heartache, etc
- Allow music to comfort your soul—listen to soft praise music and soothing sounds, or anything that relaxes you. Consider playing (or learning how to play) the piano, guitar, or other musical instrument.
- Breathe deep and relax—sit quietly, take a hot bath, take a nap, or do something that relaxes your mind. Breathing slow deep breaths can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
- This one is very important: remind yourself, “it isn’t always going to be like this”—these feelings will not always be as strong or intense. It is very important to remember life can and does get better. It will be different than what it once was…but it can get better.
- Call a trustworthy loved one—family, grief support groups, and good friends are so valuable when going through grief. It’s also great to talk to someone who has been through similar grief because they can share wisdom and insight of how they got through their worst days to find better days.
- Do an activity that brings joy to your heart—take time to truly enjoy doing a hobby or activity you currently or previously loved to do. You can also learn new hobbies or activities to do.
- Cooking and baking can be therapeutic—Invite some loved ones over and cook a delicious relaxing dinner together or bake together, or go out to eat and relax with loved ones as you have a night out. You can also have a quiet afternoon of baking by yourself and then enjoy the treats you baked and pass them out to loved ones.
- Sit in a comfy chair with a warm blanket and drink some hot tea, coffee, or hot cocoa—Read the Bible or a good book…something that is encouraging. As you drink your tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, savor this time of relaxation.
- Have a mini spa day at home or go out for one—stay home and do a homemade facial, manicure, and pedicure. Or go get a massage, fresh new haircut, or a pedicure at a spa. You could also bring a friend along and go to lunch afterwards.
- If the weather is nice, sit on a porch, go on a nature walk, or patio dine, if not, look out the window and enjoy the view—looking outside to relax and reflect on all the ways God has provided for you and carried you, considering the family and friends who have cared about you, and also reflecting on every good thing in your life that has the potential to bring your heart peace and joy…it all has a way of bringing peace to your soul. Sometimes a different outlook becomes much welcomed.
- Journal—write down your thoughts, goals, feelings, and life events. Journaling is so very therapeutic. It’s also beneficial to look back one day, read journals you’ve written, and see how you’ve grown – and how much you’ve overcome – and how far you’ve made it.
- Exercise or stretch—exercise has been proven to alleviate stress and help depression and anxiety. It also can be very relaxing. It takes your mind off of things for awhile, too.
- Organize your home and life—clutter can add to the chaos of grief, so dedicating even 20-30 min a day to decluttering your home and life is well worth the effort.
- Enjoy your pet or consider getting a pet—I believe pets are amazing little “heart healers” sent by God. Our family went through a tough grief experience and within a few months, we rescued a puppy. I always looked at our rescue dog and thought, “who rescued who.” Deep consideration should be used when getting a new pet. They’re a 6 to 15 year commitment, and a financial responsibility, so make sure you can handle the time commitment and responsibility of a furry lil friend. To me, they’re totally worth it! There also may be opportunities in your area to volunteer at a pet shelter or to foster pets if you’d like the therapeutic benefits of a pet, but can’t fully commit to a lifelong pet.
- Create a Bucket List—I’m a big believer in creating, keeping, and maintaining a bucket list. It helps to focus on the greater picture, as you write down everything you still want to do and achieve, so you purposely don’t waste life. There are many things I was able to do – that I otherwise wouldn’t have done – during times of grief because of goals I wrote in my Bucket List notebook.
I hope these ideas are helpful to you and I hope all of you had a special, meaningful, and blessed Christmas!
Never give up HOPE! Even if things aren’t ideal or good right now, better days are ahead of you. Some of your very best days may not have even happened yet. Hang in there!
Gratitude & many blessings,
©2015/2018 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.
©2019 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved.
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2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed
3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites
4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays
5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5
6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv
7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus
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