All The Feels:: Managing Holiday Grief

All The Feels:: Managing Holiday Grief

You know that song that says, “It’s the most wonderful time…of the year”? But…what if it’s not? It’s that time again when all things are merry and bright, sparkly and glittery, and the peppermint mocha lattes are in full swing. I have a wonderful family, three healthy kids, a great career, two dogs and a roof over my head…yet the holidays give me all the feels. And sometimes, the feels go from pure happiness to pure sadness in the span of a few hours, maybe even minutes. 

I think I have narrowed it down to a few things that really make my heart ache during the holidays. For one, this year marked five years since my mom’s passing. My grandmother is also gone, as is my great aunt. These were all strong women that adored the holidays. They adored the decor, the food, the tradition, all of it. And now it is just me. I have no sisters, no daughters, none of these amazing female figures that made me who I am. And while I try my darnedest to continue with the traditions as well as create my own, I can’t help but wonder if they are proud of me from up above. And it does make me sad. It makes me sad that they are not here to create these memories with my children. 

My family is spread out all across the United States and it is rare that we are able to spend the holidays together. I am so thankful for technology that allows us to FaceTime and WhatsApp during this time of year. Many times we FaceTime or WhatsApp while cooking a big meal just to make sure that we are doing it right…just how grandma used to do it. It’s these little things that bring me joy and comfort when we cannot be together. 

It’s also the holiday season…and my mother-in-law has been living with me for the past 15 months. Need I say more on this one? Feels. 

I have guilt for feeling this way. Because my present…my today…is beautiful and blessed. I also know the real reason for the season.

But I miss my people greatly. 

Maybe its the memories, the nostalgia…not sure…but the ache is real. So momma, if you too are feeling this way, please know that you are not alone. This time of year can bring out all the feels, good and bad. Just googling “depression during the holidays” returns countless links with information on the topic. It also goes without saying that if you feel the need to talk to a professional counselor or doctor, please do so. I might even take me up on my own advice on this one.

I have put a few practices into play this year and I am finding them to be very helpful.

For one, this year we hosted a Friendsgiving with several other families and it was wonderful! It really was fun and it was great to start a new tradition.

I also prioritize my exercise time. The kids know that when mom has a Pilates class,  don’t call her, don’t ask for anything…mom is not available. It makes a world of difference to get moving. Sixty minutes. Go. I literally plan my entire afternoon around this class. It is non-negotiable because it does my body good from head to toe. 

I’ve made it a point to also spend more time out in nature. We have recently visited a few state parks and just being present in nature really clears my head and my perspective. I think this is going to become a regular family outing because I am discovering that I actually really enjoy hiking out in the woods!

And you know what…I allow myself some time to grieve and feel the feels when needed. I’m human. I give myself grace. But this year, I have family coming over for New Year’s Eve from all parts of the country and I am ecstatic!  I can’t wait to hug their necks!

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