If the holidays bring about a lot of grief for you, you don’t have to celebrate if you don’t feel like it. There are a lot of things in life we need to push ourselves to do. Getting out of bed on a cold winter day. Saying no to a second or third slice of cake. Finishing a hard workout. All of these things when done consistently help create a disciplined life that is a reflection of your values.
It is important to push ourselves to do things we don’t feel like and create that discipline. It is something we teach our kids. Being able to push through is a skill that many of us have learned or even been conditioned to take pride in. It certainly is something to take pride in, however there is a fine line between discipline and being unhealthy.
All the Feels
The holidays bring up so much nostalgia and so many feelings. Many of these feelings are warm and cozy. When you are dealing with loss those feelings may feel more like loneliness, regret and sadness. At a time when we gather with friends and family and celebrate long standing traditions, we may not feel like celebrating at all.
Guess what, you are not obligated to celebrate if you don’t feel like it. Often people push themselves to get in the festive mood to please other people. If you don’t want to be the scrooge who doesn’t care about stocking stuffers this year, it is understandable when you have a new loss.
As I mentioned earlier there is a time and place for pushing ourselves. There is also a time to really hone into our feelings and acknowledge them even if it means disappointing others.
What should I do?
A woman wrote into an advice column. Her question was as follows; I lost my mother 4 months ago. This will be the first Thanksgiving without her. She was the true matriarch of the family. I know I have to hold things together because she is gone. It will be my job to bake desserts and host the family. Each year the house is filled with family and boisterous celebration and laughter. I just don’t feel like celebrating anything. What should I do?
The simple answer was: don’t celebrate if you don’t feel like it. Of course there are a variety of different ways you can adjust the gathering. Making it a quieter holiday may just be what the doctor ordered. Talk with your family and let them know it will be a low key holiday or even that you are going to sit this one out. Likely, they will understand.
No matter how long it has been since your loss you will still grieve. If you feel that you haven’t been able to process your grief and still don’t want to celebrate after much time has passed it might be time to reach out for support. Holidays may never be the same but there can be joy in the season nonetheless.