Navigating the Holidays After Change or Loss

By Hannah Woods

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Several Holidays are coming up which can be a hard time of year for a lot of people. This time of year can be difficult for many different reasons. Whether family dynamics have changed, a loved one has passed, or money is tight (not to mention the short days and cold weather). Feelings such as stress, anxiety, and loneliness can arise and become overwhelming.  

Change can be hard. I remember the first Christmas after my parents got divorced, it was different, and it made me sadCertain family traditions couldn’t be carried out, but new ones were created. Also, it almost felt like having two Christmas’s! Embrace the change and try to find the positive aspects of it. It won’t make that pain go away, but it will make it easier. 

If you are dealing with a loss around the holidays, it’s important not to isolate yourself. Spend time with people you love and trust. Volunteer or donate to a corporation that was important to your loved one. Do something in nature to help distract and ease your mind even for just a short amount of time. Last, but not least, remember that it’s okay to say no. You don’t have to go to every dinner party or do every favor asked of you. Only commit to what you can handle. 

Holidays can mean spending crazy amounts of money on presents and/or traveling. It is important to remember that usually, less is more. It may be a cliché, but it is so true. You do not need to spend money to prove your love to someone, it’s the thought that truly counts! It’s important, to be honest with yourself and your family about your financial state especially if it affects your mental health. Also, try making homemade gifts for your family and friends. Pinterest has some cool ideas, and everyone loves baked goods! 

Change your expectations. Never expect your Holiday to be as cliché and perfect as they are in the movies. Doing this will only lead to disappointment because it will most likely be filled with drunk relatives, screaming children, and a burning desire to just go home and drink eggnog and cuddle your dog.  

Hannah Woods is an intern at the O’Connor Professional Group (OPG) in her senior year at Salem State University where she majors in Marketing with a Psychology minor. Hannah’s passion for helping people has sparked her desire to end the stigma around mental health and help people whenever possible. 

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