While many people anticipate the joy of the holidays each year, there are those who find it difficult to cope during this seemingly festive time. In fact, a recent survey reveals that 36% of Americans “don’t feel like” celebrating the holidays, and as we enter into our third year of a raging pandemic, it’s clear to see why.
Two of Lutheran Services Florida’s leading mental health experts— Dr. Christine Cauffield, CEO of LSF Health Systems and Dr. Marie Mason, VP of Operations for Head Start – recently shared tips with LSF employees for understanding and coping with grief over the holidays.
- Don’t be surprised by the weight of your grief. “Our bodies hold memories of the things we’ve lost. The body remembers and is coded to those associations and relationships. The grief can be triggered by the senses- sights, sounds, smells…… And that’s okay. It’s healthy to remember.” (Dr. Mason)
- Surround yourself with the right people. “Avoid people who aren’t supportive. You cannot afford to be around those who drain your energy, because you need that energy. Grief can take a lot out of you. Surround yourself those who understand and are going to FILL your well.” (Dr. Cauffield)
- Loss comes in many forms. You can find yourself grieving the loss of a loved one, your safety, your identity, your autonomy, and your dreams. During the pandemic, several Americans lost many of these critical things at once.
- Know when to get help. “Grief can continue longer than you’d expect, especially during holidays. As long as it doesn’t interfere with, your ability to function… It’s when you withdraw and isolate and avoid day-to-day activities that you may need to seek help. When you lose a loved one, you lose a part of who you are, and grieving that loss takes time.” (Dr. Mason)
- As a social worker or caregiver, you cannot minimize your own pain. “We often want to create space for our clients to share their pain, but what about us? We are good at compartmentalizing, [but it’s not healthy or helpful].” (Dr. Cauffield)
If you or a loved one are looking for support as you work to better understand and manage your grief, consider contacting us at LSFNET.ORG.