Five Tips for Dealing with Grief in the New Year
“Some people may not understand why the grieving are reluctant to move into the new year. For them, they see a fresh year, a new season. But for the bereaved, it’s moving into a new calendar year which their loved one will never live in.”
– Zoe Clark-Coates
For those who are grieving, the thought of facing a new year can be daunting. While partygoers revel in holiday cheer and starting afresh, the bereaved are often reminded of a future without their loved one. Emptiness and loneliness can bring reluctance to tackle the year ahead.
If you’re among the bereaved as we enter 2020, don’t give up hope: there are steps you can take to make it easier to cope with your grief as time goes on. In this article, we’ll share five of our favorite strategies for embracing the new year when dealing with loss.
Focus on self-care rather than self-improvement.
This year, skip the typical New Year’s resolutions and instead, focus on nurturing your mind, body, and spirit. Forget about crash diets, demanding work out routines, and daily gratitude lists. Whether this is your first year without your loved one or it’s been many years since the loss, it’s important to honor your feelings and allow your personal healing process to occur. Treat yourself with the kindness and compassion that you would bestow on a beloved friend in the same position. Simple things like getting adequate sleep, eating nourishing food, and exercising gently each day will help to support you during the difficult time of loss. And don’t forget to plan daily time doing something you enjoy, whether it’s listening to music, taking a walk in nature, or relaxing in a warm bath.
Seek out the support of others.
While it’s understandable to want to be alone in the days following a loss, it’s not healthy to completely isolate yourself. Sometimes we need a spiritual or social support community to move forward in our grief. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family members. Scheduling time to get together for coffee or lunch each week can do wonders to alleviate feelings of loneliness and sorrow.
Recognize that you aren’t leaving your loved one behind.
When you cross the threshold of a new year without that special person by your side, it can feel as though you’re forgetting about them or leaving them in your past. But that isn’t the case. While the change of the calendar is a marker of time’s passing, you will never forget your loved one, no matter how many years go by. Take some time to reflect on the ways you can carry your special person with you into the future. What habits, hobbies, or mannerisms do you share with them? What are your favorite memories of your time together? Take comfort in knowing that their inedible mark on your heart will always be there.
Merge the past with the future.
People often find it difficult to make plans for the future when they feel the past hasn’t been reconciled. Easing into the new year with a project that honors the past may be just what you need to merge the grief of yesterday with the hope of tomorrow. Scrapbooks and journals are tangible tokens of days gone by, filled with precious pictures, memories and history. Creating one of these keepsakes can help you move forward into the new year as you honor your loved one within its pages and chronicle your life together. When creating your scrapbook or journal, start by deciding what you want to include. Old photos, favorite poems and scriptures are popular choices. If you’re new to creating memory books like these, start simply and take it one page at a time. Over time, it will add up to abundant memories that you can cherish for years to come.
Consider joining a support group.
When you’re grieving, social support from loved ones can be invaluable. It can provide a great sense of relief and encourage emotional healing. But even the most well-meaning friends and family members won’t necessarily understand precisely what you’re experiencing. A support group can be a potent curative tool because it allows you to benefit from the experiences of others who are in a similar position. You can find support groups at your local church or other religious organization, community centers, through your physician or therapist, and even online.
When you’ve lost someone you love, the new year can bring with it a tidal wave of emotions. The future may seem bleak and the thought of starting over can feel overwhelming. If you’re grieving, don’t feel that you’re closing a chapter with the start of the new year. Rather, choose to open a new chapter and take the love and fond memories with you.
We hope you find these tips to be helpful. If you need additional information or have questions about your grief journey, please reach out to us. Our caring team is here to assist you in your time of need.
About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 20 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved one. For more information, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.