This week is Christmas. In a pandemic. Here in Burlington, ON, we begin our second lockdown on Boxing Day. Right now indoor gatherings are capped at 5 and they’re asking us to only celebrate with our household.
Christmas and holidays for a lot of us, is already HARD. Like really tough. Not because our grief is stronger or deeper or bigger, it’s just triggering. Things happen and memories inevitably pop up and allow the raw emotions, anger, frustration, hurt feelings come to the surface.
It’s the empty chair(s) at the table, the gift you would have given, the traditions that should have been shared. It’s knowing that this was your person’s favorite time of year. It’s all of the above.
This time of year, from October to April, is hard for me. It’s harder than most of the year.
Thanksgiving, was mine and Kayla’s favorite holidays. Kayla loved snow, so when it flies, it sometimes gets me feeling low, especially the first really good snowfall. It’s hanging angel ornaments on the tree as a tribute to her, it’s knowing that I’m not seeing Elena when in reality, were Kayla here, they’d all be at my house. It’s creeping up to January 23 (Elena’s birthday and the last conversation I had with Kayla). It’s January 31st, the day we made the decision to remove the life support. Once all those are passed, then it’s my birthday in February and a month later, Kayla’s.
Now we introduce a pandemic and lockdowns into the equation, and it hits me harder because now, there will be more empty chairs, because my extended family can’t join us in person. Kristina and the boys will be here because we need that mentally.
This all got me thinking when I was determining what to write about today. About all the families that can’t be together this year for Christmas. We are entering a time of year that can be really hard to begin with, let alone giving a small taste of what it’s like to not be with loved ones when you really wish you could be. It’s not the same thing obviously, but it’s a taste.
So what do we do? How have I managed to get through this emotionally charged times for the last 3 years? It’s self care. I am going to share some of the things I do to not absolutely lose my shit. This is in no way shape or form a “professional” opinion or advice, nor does it replace counselling or emergency assistance if that is what you need, just my tips from my personal experience.
- Gather the support of family and friends. Maybe not in person this year, but this is where technology comes in. Zoom, Google Meets, Google Duo, Houseparty, Whatsapp: these are all video conferencing tools you can use. It’s the next best thing. Tell them how you are feeling. Don’t worry about being a downer. They WANT to support you.
- Distraction. Read a book, take up painting, knitting, get lost in a movie. I’m not saying don’t think about things, but sometimes your brain needs a break from it all
- Move your body. Go for a walk (bundle up) do a workout, dance in your living room. Make a TikTok. Do SOMETHING
- Meditate. There are apps out there to help you. There’s Calm, Headspace, Beachbody on demand. There are free meditations on Youtube.
- Have a nap.
- Do your nails, a facial, something that you enjoy to pamper yourself.
- Eat the ice cream. Just don’t eat the whole container lol.
- Listen to music. Any music. Just don’t put shit on that makes you wallow in your self pity
- Reflect on your time with your loved one. Enjoy those happy memories. Talk about them. Post on Social about them
- Make a memorial donation. Donate to the foodbank in their name in the amount you would have spent on their gift. Pay it forward in the Timmies drivethrough.
These are some suggestions. This post is to support you. Let me know the things you do for yourself when you struggle with those tough emotions. I am always looking for more tools in my toolbox. And, as always, if you need to talk, I am here.
Merry Christmas everyone! Looking forward to seeing everyone’s modified celebrations. Enjoy being cozy at home.