Overcoming grief during the holidays

Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Plan ahead. Decide which tasks you'll take on or let go this year. What traditions will you maintain or let go for now? Give yourself the freedom to change your plans as you go.

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Lower your expectations-for yourself and for others. Realize change is a part of life, and cut yourself some slack with shopping, baking, sending letters or accepting invitations.

Express your feelings. Write, cry, confide in a friend, sing, or play an instrument.

Take charge of your life, even in the smallest ways. Eat a healthy diet. Exercise. Let people know what you think will help you and what won't.

Do something for others. Drive, visit, shovel, telephone, clean, type, greet.

Offer something of what you have and who you are.

Don't be afraid to remember. Carry, wear or use something special your loved one used or gave to you. Carry on or begin a special tradition that connects you with your loved one. Or wait out this year, then remember when the time is right.

Allow yourself to feel good. It's not disrespectful to the memory of a loved one if you enjoy yourself at times.

Remember that children grieve, too, and they may need your help. Plan meaningful activities they will enjoy, and help them choose what is most meaningful to them.

• Author's Note: Thanks to Guidelines Publications and James E. Miller, "How Will I Get Through the Holidays," for some of these suggestions.

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