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Re: Happy holidays? Or is it?

I think the first thing is to be aware of it, and act on it. And by act on it I mean the following:

1 Be Aware of Your Family’s Dynamics
You may not be able to change your family’s dynamics, but at least be aware of how your family and friends affect you.
Sometimes surviving Christmas can be about find ways to shorten or eliminate the experiences that make you feel bad. Connect with the people, or places that are comforting & nurturing during the Christmas time is helpful. Be that in person, over the phone or online.
2 Make A Plan
If Christmas is a hard time, maybe making a plan of what you’ll do on the day & the public holidays afterwards can be a good addition to your coping strategies.

3 Start New Traditions 
If Christmas just isn’t relevant to you maybe starting your own tradition is something useful. If you find that some of your friends also feel alienated or freaked out by Christmas, maybe it’s about starting an annual event that supports & acknowledges that this is often a really hard time. It may be a hang out in the park, dinner, a trip to the movies or somewhere exciting & adventuresome. It might be taking time before (to inspire strength & courage) or after (to debrief 
and process) Christmas hang-outs with your close friends….

4 Reach out to a service if you need to talk and you don't have someone - Lifeline and Kidshelpline are always there

Online Community Manager

ReachOut.com

Re: Happy holidays? Or is it?

In terms of support ideas, there's spending time with friends, other family members or work colleagues. Volunteering is also a great idea as you'll meet other volunteers and those that you are helping. 

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Re: Happy holidays? Or is it?

What support ideas do you have for someone who is struggling with loneliness this Christmas?

I agree with @dreamcatcher on this one, keep yourself busy.
Maybe chuck a couple of movies on and snuggle up close with a pet?

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Re: Happy holidays? Or is it?

What does the holiday period mean to you?

I agree with dreamcatcher - work! I work in retail too, so work is crazy. But in general the atmosphere is quite nice… Although closer to Christmas, people get stressed and can take it out on you!

Because I have some strained family relationships, I often tend to retreat back to the Religious aspect of Christmas to get me through. I also try to remember that it's a magical time of year for kids. 

 

What is not to love about Christmas? 

This Christmas will be extra tough for me as it is the first Christmas without my beloved grandmother (it would also have been her 90th birthday today, so feeling it badly tonight!). Christmas was one of her favourite times of year as it was the only time all of her grandkids were together. Because I don't have much of a relationship with my cousins or family on that side, this year will suck and I'm really unsure as to whether I'll even attend the family celebration this year - I mostly only went because of my grandmother. So missing loved ones is so hard. 

It also highlights how strained my relationship is with my father, so that's a constant struggle. I also hate "celebrating" it with my new step family. I don't regard them as a family but I'm still forced to celebrate with them. So it sucks. And yep loneliness is another big one for me. 

 

How am I going to cope this year? Work my butt off at work before Christmas so I can kind of distract my mind from it all. And then retreat back to my Religious background. I also try to think of the positives - seeing my brother who I haven't seen lately because he has been away working, and remembering that it's a joyous time for my younger second cousins (and children in general). I am also getting into Christmas baking! Food is great!!! It's definitely a time for great food. Smiley Happy 

Re: Happy holidays? Or is it?

 @Sophie-RO you mentioned some awesome ideas I had not even thought of. It is really interesting hearing other traditions people have compared to your own/ what you are used to. 

 

@Myvo I completely agree with you about invloving yourself with all sorts of people. Whether it be family, friends, people from work or strangers. You can make someone else feeling lonely alittle better at the same time. 

Re: Happy holidays? Or is it?

Hi mischiefmanaged! thanks for sharing your experience and it soudns like you have some strategies in place to cope with a potentially sad xmas without your grandma.

Online Community Manager

ReachOut.com

Re: Happy holidays? Or is it?

Lots of great coping ideas there from everyone, keep em coming!

Online Community Manager

ReachOut.com

Re: Happy holidays? Or is it?

@mischiefmanaged Thanks for jumping on board and sharing your thoughts and experiences on the holidays.

 

It is extremely sad to hear of your grandmothers recent passing, so thankyou for sharing this personal story with us all. Especially discussing this topic tonight would be extra difficult for you. What once was a tradition to bring the family together may now change. Sometimes the holiday period can bring up grief issues as we are reminded of loved ones lost. Does anyone have some ideas as to how how can we deal with this grief and turn it into something that celebrates the lives of loved ones who have passed away?

Re: Happy holidays? Or is it?

Does anyone have some ideas as to how how can we deal with this grief and turn it into something that celebrates the lives of loved ones who have passed away?

Last year was the first Christmas we had without my grandmother, so when we were saying Grace, we did a thanks to her. It was hard, but it was nice to remember her at Christmas. I expect this year will be the same, seeing that my grandfather is staying with us.

 

It's important for us (and especially me) not to dwell on the fact that they're not here, but rather remember and keep up the happy and good vibes.

Re: Happy holidays? Or is it?

Does anyone have some ideas as to how can we deal with this grief and turn it into something that celebrates the lives of loved ones who have passed away?

 

I've heard of people that still put out the stocking of their loved one to allow a kind of 'presence'. Others honour them by doing an activity like donating to a charity or organisation that they cared about, supported their causes by volunteering their time or even holding a leisurely activity (e.g. sports, arts and crafts, singing, gardening, etc). I think that if it reminds you of someone that you dearly loved and that it's done in a positive, safe and fun way then you are honouring their presence and acknowledging that they're still with you in spirit. 

 

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