Grief

10 Tips for Dealing with New Year Grief

How to cope with New Year trauma or grief.

Posted Dec 30, 2016

After a week of "good cheer," those of us who are struggling with depression, grief, or trauma may be desperately seeking solace from the "good cheer storm." If life has left you feeling overwhelmed or you feel that others do not understand the difficulties you have faced, here are 10 suggestions for dealing with the dawning of the New Year:

  1. Do not completely isolate yourself from other people.
  2. Allow yourself space to acknowledge any losses you’re processing and any pain these losses have produced. A word to the wise: Do not let yourself use loss or grief as excuses to escape through alcohol or other addictive substances.
  3. If a particular ritual is just too painful to enact this year, accept that your limits and forgive yourself.
  4. Create a special new ritual that honors your self-awareness and the present moment.
  5. Light a special candle and offer a silent or spoken tribute to your strengths and the qualities you possess that will help you weather this period.
  6. If you feel that you “need” to get a shot of holiday spirit, engage in an activity that brought you pleasure in earlier years – when you were a child or young adult. If your first attempt fails, try something else. Don’t judge yourself – just accept yourself.
  7. It is true that the shortest day falls on the last day of autumn. Winter may bring the bitterest weather, the deepest hibernation of life, and leafless, barren trees may stand stark against the winter sky, but once the first day of winter has arrived, the days begin lengthening as nights begin to shorten. Your discontent may wax and wane, but there is a natural rhythm to the phases of the moon and in life and it is truly always darkest before the dawn.
  8. Honor your feelings, but don’t allow yourself to get so wrapped up in them that you close yourself off to the possibility of spontaneous moments of hope or joy,
  9. ​Give yourself permission to be needy now and don't take on anymore than you can easily handle. It's okay — and best! — to be human.
  10. Take care of yourself in the way that serves you best; but refuse to to give in to the demons that seek to draw you under.