Hello Reader. This week as we wrap up one holiday and enter into two more, I thought a post on helping us hope more, grieve easier, and stress less during the holidays might be helpful. Honestly I wish I had written this a couple weeks ago but I was under the sinus infection and pneumonia cooties. I’m still sorry I missed passing along info for those of you dear readers who would have liked some support.
I hope this package of proven ways will be very helpful for you and yours as we continue on in the holiday season.
Proven Ways To Hope More
- Practice Advent. Advent, in particular, gives us the opportunity to practice waiting, dreaming and growing hope. Advent means “arrival” and that refers to the arrival of Jesus Christ as the long-awaited and deeply hoped for Messiah. In your daily life, there are places you hope might change, things you hope for yourself and others. I have them too. This year will you join me and others as we practice waiting, dreaming, and allowing ourselves to hope in the deep places we need it most? Click this link for a current Advent calendar with readings from the Transforming Center.
- An Attitude of Gratitude Increases Hope. When you help yourself make a daily or regular list of things you are grateful for, you allow yourself to hope. Hope is connected to a past, present and a future. Don’t ignore the places where God has come through in the past and where he is providing or protecting now. Those very places show you he is able to do amazing things in the future too. Then express that gratitude to others because an expressed gratitude is a hope-charged gratitude.
- Grateful People Are Generous People, and Generous People are Hopeful People. When you give, it reminds you of both you have much to offer and also you have much to look forward to. The combination is powerful! What do you have to give—is it time, money, a helping hand, your talents or skills?
- Do Your Part to Act Now. Hope is based in confidence and trust so there could be some small action or change you could do now to hope more. If you are hoping for a new job after the holidays, are you connecting with people, sending holiday greetings, etc.
- Take Care. Hope is not only relational, it is also easier to hope when we feel good, so take good care of yourself. Self Care is a beautiful way to respect your own limits and needs as you have been created with limits and needs.
Proven Ways To Grieve Easier – Whether you are grieving the loss of a loved one or grieving a not –yet deeply hoped for experience, these tips might be helpful. There is never an end to the grief that comes with the loss of a loved one but perhaps these or tips left by others on GriefShare.org might help it be a bit easier.
- Continue with Regular Daily Healthy Rhythms. You will bring an ease into any holiday changes by remaining in your rhythm but giving yourself grace to adjust as needed for any healthy and fun invitations. This will also give you any needed safety or comfort while allowing the choice to be uncomfortable and adjust a rhythm if there is a healthy new experience for growth.
- Invite Others Into Your Grief or Loss. Grieving alone is not helpful if that’s all you do. We heal and are comforted in our grief when we include others, this is called mourning. We share our outward expression of the internal pain and the comfort of this shared experience can bring hope and a beginning place of healing.
- Avoid Using Things or People. This will cause your brain to have a break from the grief but it will bring another layer of grief, hurt or loneliness. Instead of Using People, Invite People into your experience and share stories of your loved one or share healthy holiday fun to build memories.
- Allow Yourself Grace. Grief is powerful and can blur our vision so allow yourself grace to feel what you feel towards God and regarding your own self identity. Then help yourself be empowered by the grace of God to invite true statements about God’s character and yours.
- Plan a Way Out. This applies both physically for social engagements and also emotionally if the grief feels stuck for the moment. Plan so that you can leave an event or stay later if you are having fun. Plan a list of options of how to help yourself or invite others to help you switch the brain or heart from the grief into the good things happening now and then together mourn the loss to build the hope.
Proven Ways To Stress Less (These come from last year’s post, “Hacks For Joy Filled Holidays” and there is more detail in that post.)
- On the go? Bring snacks and tackle the list happier. Bonus: Traveling somewhere new? Take a screen shot of the route in case you lose service.
- Team up. If the holidays are rough and/or lonely, connect with some close friends who help you stay healthy and plan times to coach each other via text, face-time, or phone. Bonus: Team up with your pet by training them how to interact with new people or get them ready for weather changes. Team up with your kids –use immediate and small rewards, prepare them for awkward relatives hugging, check in with them, and determine an escape space when out socially.
- Talking points! Think ahead of how you can answer those repeat questions that come with holiday events or extended family gatherings. Bonus: Give younger kids conversation tips too.
- Rewrite the script for family events We all know how the family script goes for an event. When you change one thing that you typically do, it will impact the entire scene. If you get another family member in on the rewrite, the event could be better than ever. Bonus: check in with your team while you are in the throws.
- Stick to routines even during the holiday. As much as possible, maintain those daily rhythms and holidays just got more enjoyable. Bonus: Include visiting friends or family in your daily walks, errands, etc. and they will feel part of your world.
Wrapping It Up – These last 4 bullets compile all the specifics listed above into 4 general suggestions:
- Listen Well – give yourself time to engage with your own heart and listen to God before engaging with others, and then when you do engage with others, listen with your whole self
- Respond Well – a healthy response will always flow out of a healthy soul, so respond with non-verbals, words, and direct actions of helping, celebrating or comforting
- Refer Well – if you engage with someone whose grief, hurt, or need is above your capacity or ability, then connect them to someone you know can help and follow through to make sure the connection is helpful
- Keep Well – know your own limits, boundaries, and needs so you stay well and keep well. You can’t care for others well if you aren’t well.
Well, Reader, the holiday season always brings added emotions, plans, stress, and constraints. It’s easy to get off track with any life rhythm during the holidays but we can make conscious effort together to remain healthy and hopeful.
Connect with me and let me know how it’s going!
As always, add a kind and appropriate comment below of tips that have worked for you to hope more, grieve easier and stress less during the holidays.
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs the Streams Counseling Center in Austin, Texas and co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me
- Photo curated on Pexels.com and graphic created by author on canva.com