Monday, November 22, 2010

Weathering the Winter

:: winter berries ::

Hey friends. I received a newsletter from the American Brain Tumor Association today, which had this great message about coping with the holidays. I thought I would share it with all of you. Here is an abridged version.

Weathering the Winter

Family celebrations, get-togethers with old friends, gift giving and receiving, and spiritual observances are all popular seasonal activities. However, if you recently lost a loved one, these traditions can challenge our time, spirits motivation, and even our health.

You may face an increased pressure to interact with relatives even though you’re not quite up to a visit. You may also feel burdened by the financial pressures of lavish gift-giving, and the need to convey a cheerful demeanor despite your private pain. Try paring down expectations for the perfect holiday.

Once you let go of the guilt of the “wished for” holiday and allow yourself to enjoy what blessings you do have, then you can truly appreciate what the season is all about.

Instead, mark this season as a time of personal growth. You can start by putting your emotional, physical and spiritual needs first, even if it means attending only events that will brighten your spirits. Remember that the true spirit of the season is the mental and emotional renewal gained through the gift of love.

The licensed social workers at the American Brain Tumor Association recommend asking yourself these three questions as you approach the holidays:

• Who and what in my life brings me a sense of thankfulness and gratitude?
• What nourishes my spirit?
• What non-material gifts can I give to others or to myself?

Your answers may surprise you and change the way you approach your holiday season.

1 comment:

  1. I love this, dan. This is how matt and I spent our holidays - no big celebrations, no gatherings, just private time. His family was fine with our non-attendance. My family - not so much. Since matt drowned, it is expected that I'll be with my folks, which is not any of these things above. What gets me a lot lately is how to say "it's not personal" to someone when it is actually Personal: as in, I love you as who you are, and I don't enjoy spending time with you-as-you-are. The people I would consider spending a holiday with are not the people who are hurt if I say no. Grr. Matt was so awesome at this - he did what felt right to him and let anyone hurt or offended deal with their own hurt. Somehow, people never seemed hurt, didn't take it too personally; it was just matt being matt.

    I prefer to spend these holidays as any other day. It's what we mostly did before, and I'd rather not have the whole He's Not Here Anymore so accentuated because of a manufactured holiday. Plenty of other personally relevant days to acknowledge, IMO.

    I love the questions at the end of this post. Good things to ask myself every day, for every day, not just this season.