The beginning of a new year, can be a double-edge sword for those experiencing grief. On one hand it can signify new beginnings, but depending on one’s own grief journey, that “new beginning” is not something that they are ready for. The thought of moving on into a new year, without their loved one, is almost unbearable.
Of course, there are many things that happen during our grief journey that we aren’t ready for. Those first holidays, birthdays, future plans, etc. They loom over us and come whether we are ready to face them or not…and so it is the same with the start of the new year.
If you are grieving, New Year’s Resolutions might be the last on your mind — but you may want to consider some of these. You may find them to be quite helpful as you navigate through your grief.
New Year’s Resolutions for the Grieving
Be Patient with Yourself – Realize that there is no time limit to grief. No matter what others think your should do, how you should act, or when you should return to “normal” (which is a whole other topic), just take time for yourself and your grief and find peace in the fact that we all grieve differently.
Take Care of Yourself – Along the same lines of being patient with yourself, make sure you are taking care of YOU. If you have been a caregiver, chances are high that you spent more time caring for your loved one that you did looking after your health and wellness. Now is the time to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Be in the Moment – If you need to cry, give yourself permission to feel those feeling. If you feel like laughing, do so without guilt, knowing your loved one would want you to enjoy your life. Whatever you do, wherever you go, this year pledge to be in the moment, whatever that moment brings.
Do Something to Honor Your Loved One – Whether you have small private things that you do to honor and remember your loved one, or you choose to do something else, that’s up to you. It can be helpful to the grieving to do something good, in memory of their loved one. Anything from planting a tree in their honor, volunteer work, donating your time, talents, or treasure, keeping a journal, or whatever helps you feel a connection and closeness to your loved one and helps you cope with your grief.
Surround Yourself with Goodness – Now is a good time to take inventory of the environment around you. Shed what is toxic in your life and surround yourself with people, places and things that support you and help you to grow and live in a positive way. When we lose someone we love, it is a wakeup call to how precious and fragile life is.
Don’t Expect too Much from Others – We all seek to be understood, and where grief is concerned, people can support us they really can’t feel what we feel – even if they have experienced a similar loss. Know that people who are well-meaning may not act as we would want them to, or say what we want them to, or be a caring as we need them to be. Just lovingly let them know that you understand that they don’t understand what you are going through but all you really need is for them to listen, not fix anything, or say the “right” thing — just simply listen.
Reinvest in Your Life: in Your New “Normal” – While most grief experts don’t advise making any rash, or life changing, decisions while grieving – you’ll want to reinvest in your life and yourself. Make plans that give you something to look forward to; a trip to visit a relative out of state, lunch with an old friend, or an event that you would enjoy. It’s a not a perfect solution but it’s a good way to dip your toe back into the water of life.
Is there anything else you would add to this list?