While the weather starts to chill, the feelings of this time of year brings warmth to the soul.

The Holidays always seem to give a feeling of peace, tranquility, and sanction, most likely due to the comforting memories of the Holidays of past. However, for some, these pleasant memories also bring a sting of loss. Is it possible to find that Holiday joy and peace to ward off the sting? It is possible to live, love, grieve and celebrate during this season, here are twelve tips for healing for the holidays.

    1. Be Compassionate with Yourself: Even though it may be difficult, let your grief in, embrace it and the new you. Being who you are can allow you to feel all necessary emotions to work through them. Showing yourself compassion can be in the form of taking a vacation, getting yourself a gift, or just spending quiet time to revere the season and find happiness in the little moments. If the passing is recent, don’t be afraid to make an appointment with a grief counselor.
    2. Attend a Remembrance Ceremony: Many hospitals, hospices or funeral homes host remembrance ceremonies for the public to ritualize mourning and bring people together to find harmony in their grieving. With the pandemic, remembrance ceremonies may be postponed, so you can host your own mini ceremony, light a tree, light a house, or light a candle and dedicate it to your loved one.
    3. Keep what Matters: Maintaining old holiday traditions can help you feel your loved one’s presence as you remember past holidays. However, it can be difficult to keep all traditions, so pick the most memorable times and choose those traditions to uphold this year.
    4. If you’re Alone, find ways to Connect: With the pandemic it can be hard to close to loved ones, especially with increasing socialization and travel restrictions, but it is still important to find ways to connect with other human beings. Join a message board, Webex with family, call an old friend or send a letter. Join a group at a place of worship if they’re still meeting. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or even a pet shelter (furry friends help too).
    5. Communicate your Wishes: Be honest with yourself and other about what your wishes are this holiday season. If you’d like their company but want to gather someplace new, say so. If you’d rather skip the celebrations this year, let them know. If you’re just completely unsure on what to do for the holidays, tell them so they can help.
    6. Count your Blessings: Sometimes its easy to get lost in thoughts of all things that are missing but try to think of all you have to be thankful for. This doesn’t deny the hurt or the loss, but refocuses your feelings to think of all the things that make life worth living.
    7. Reflect on Christmas’s of Past: Put on that Christmas song they used to sing. Light a candle which smells takes you back to a different time. Decorate your home with similar decorations, with a warm fire, cozied on the couch with a cup of Egg Nog or hot cocoa. Watch their favorite holiday movie. Revel in the moment, letting the memory live again in your mind, you’ll find your loved one there.
    8. Prepare favorite Holiday Foods of your lost Loved one: Taste and smell are the senses that are most linked to memory, so cooking up the foods that they loved can take your mind right back to a time you spent around the table with them.
    9. Hang a Special Stocking: If your traditions include stockings hung by the fire, consider hanging one up in the memory of the person who passed. Maybe stuff it with their favorite items or write their name on the stocking.
    10. Dedicate a tree to their Memory: If tree adorning is one of your holiday traditions, hang their favorite ornaments on the tree. Some companies even custom make ornaments in the memory of someone who has past, obtaining one of those to decorate a tree with can be a special way to keep their memory alive.
    11. Be a Secret Santa: Giving gifts that bring a joy to others can give yourself a dose of happiness seeing the pleasure brought to someone else. Adopting a family or child in need to host their Christmas can also be most rewarding, especially putting the donations in your passed loved one’s name.
    12. Believe in a Better Next Year: Believe that next year will be better. Even with the uncertainty that the pandemic creates, believe in yourself and your capacity to heal and grow through the pain and grief. Believe in the holiday spirit that it will endure into January and into the New Year.

The holiday can be hard when feeling the loss of someone you love, but keeping their spirit alive in the spirit of the holiday season can bring joy, happiness and peace back to your holidays. Concentrate on drawing on the power of love, their love, your love and other’s love. “When it seems that our sorrow is too great to be borne, let us think of the great family of the heavy-hearted into which our grief has given us entrance, and inevitably, we will feel about us, their arms and understanding.” –Helen Keller.