Grief comes in many layers and after losing my dad to Parkinson’s I have experienced many of the typical identified stages of grief.
While the holidays are typically a festive time of the year it can be an unexpected challenge when you have lost a loved one. It can also heighten the stress that is already common for many during the holiday season. Simply hearing music, participating in holiday traditions, or even spending time with others can be a trigger.
Here are some ways to cope with grief and loss during the holidays
Accept that you’re not stuck in traditional patterns
For me Christmas was the holiday that I most looked forward to with my parents. As my dad’s illness progressed I had to slowly accept that the holiday season doesn’t only comprise large meals and gifts. Accept that the patterns and traditions you create for the holiday are just that, traditions that you create and they can and will continually evolve as they are always rooted in the idea of togetherness. As you keep that in mind you may then feel less guilt about the traditions looking different than previously experienced.
State healing affirmations
Mourning a loss during the holidays can bring so many emotions. Affirmations have been shown to clinically improve a person’s outlook.¹ Consider crafting a powerful affirmation that speaks to your needs and reminds you that the love for your lost loved one still remains.
Grief can often make you feel like you are alone. Make sure to use your community and it’s resources. It can be so easy to assume that others know you need extra support during the holidays but many will not know or they may be too afraid to say anything. Communicate your needs with your friends and community circles so that others can help hold a space for you in a way that is healing.
Honor your feelings and take a break when needed
Living in NY I’ve always been impressed with the fast paced feel and chaos that is so often experienced for adults during the holiday season. Grieving is a stressful process in itself because there are so many feelings and for that reason alone it is of utmost importance to be more attuned with the feelings you have and take breaks to just rest. You cannot be everything to everyone all the time without being for yourself first and that means setting some boundaries to let others know that part of your healing journey requires space to rest and unwind.
As I go through this journey myself I realize more and more that the memories you hold of your late loved one are personal and equally important to remember during the holidays. It’s ok to hold onto the things about them that make your holiday season so special but remember the days afterwards are equally as important in your coping journey. Stay strong my friends.
If you’re going through a hard grieving process or finding the idea of the holidays without a loved one stressful feel free to check out this guide with 6 caregiver tips for beating stress.
The office parties, the cookies, and never ending search for gifts is enough to make you stressed and anxious-that used to be me as well. With your calendar only having a certain amount of free time to get all the holiday events in it can be a lot to manage and cope with.
Here are 4 of my favorite tips for beating stress during the holidays:
Eat real foods: Stressing during the holiday trying to find that “perfect gift” creates increased temptation to eat empty calorie, highly processed, and high sugar foods. Aim to eat more fruits and vegetables and foods high in healthy fats. Not only are they healthier but they are also great to keep your energy going during the busy holiday season.
Get clear and focused on your ‘to-do list”: The holidays are when I watch way too many people let themselves completely go. Set your priorities, let those in your family know your holiday non negotiables for personal self care, and allow all the rest to fall into place.
Use essential oils: I know Christmas Spirit scented lotion, candles and body spray sounds amazing but the synthetic fragrances in those personal care products are often creating hormone disruption and respiratory/skin allergens that can lead you to feel more stress, tired, and drained. Inhaling high quality, therapeutic grade essential oils via diffusing or topical application will help you decrease stress while enjoying the health benefits.
Make time to exercise daily: Stress is often elevated during the holidays for a variety of reasons and one of the fastest ways to relieve that is by exercising. Movement helps decrease cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the body and also keeps you feeling stronger and better able to fight off illness that often swoops in during the holiday times.
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I know this all sounds easier said than done but remember after the gifts are all opened and the parties are all done maintaining a sustainable practice of stress reduction methods needs to continue. Start your holiday season off right clearly stating your intentions to manage your priorities and stress levels so you go into the new year feeling truly renewed!
The cold winter months bring fun, fireplace chats, and tons of ice skating but then the dry itchy skin can also prove to be as challenging as a major snowstorm.
The drier the air, the drier the skin so here are some fun, easy, and natural skincare tips I’ve used to maintain a healthy skincare routine that I know you will also love!
For Your Home
Consider having a cool air humidifier in your home to help your skin barrier stay hydrated. Moisture is important in the cooler months so also consider keeping the heat at a moderate temperature to avoid adding dryness in the air.
For your Gut
Gut health is everything when it comes to skin care so in addition to remaining well hydrated bump up your diet with foods rich in healthy fats such as walnuts, avocados, and olive oil.
For your Face
Without proper exfoliation, serums and creams won’t have a strong effect on your skin in the winter months. Consider using a light facial scrub prior to applying a hydrating serum or consider adding any of these essential oils into your skincare moisturizing routine:
Carrot Seed: It’s great to moisturize and hydrate the skin and is also helpful for skin that is irritated.
Sacred Frankincense: Not only does this oil create a nice even glow of your skin, the oil is known to reduce the appearance of blemishes and even skin tone.
Copaiba: This little gem provides a natural moisture to skin when added to moisturizer or in a dropper bottle with other skincare oils and applied to the face.
Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood: With a sweet and woodsy smell this essential oil is known to illuminate the appearance of skin for a younger, healthier appearance.
And now ya know! Skin care tips that can help you keep that glowing and moisturized appearance all winter long.
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Over the last few years I added elderberries into my seasonal wellness regime. Now they are one of my go-to’s in my natural wellness routine. I used to think cold and flu season was 10/12 months of the year and that traditional medicinal options were the only hope, but thankfully nature has provided us options that can help lessen the duration and severity of commonly found ailments and these berries are a great part of that arsenal.
What Are The Benefits?
While there are benefits to traditional medicinal options, black elderberry (sambucas nigra) is known to help avoid illness and lessen the duration of illness. Here are some of the many benefits.
Reduces cold duration: Elderberry is well-known in its fight against the cold, particularly related to its vitamin A and C content. There is also some evidence that elderberries may have strong antioxidant and antiviral effects.
Reduces inflammation: Elderberry displays numerous anti-inflammatory activities, particularly related to its anthocyanin and vitamins A and C contents.
Great during air travel: Most of you know I love to travel but being trapped in an enclosed space with recirculating air for hours isn’t ideal, especially when folks are coughing and sneezing. It’s suggested to take elderberries days prior to a flight and while away on a trip to ensure optimal respiratory support and immune function. For more deets check out this article .
How Long Does Elderberry Syrup Last in the Fridge?
I’m not really sure but personally I placed the syrup in a mason canning jar while it is still slightly warm. This can help create an air-tight and stay in the fridge up to several months. However I only keep one jar refrigerated and the rest I freeze and thaw as needed.
How Much Elderberry Should You Take?
Since I mainly use it as a preventative remedy, I take 1 teaspoon a day (up to 1full tbsp) during peak cold and flu season but half that for kids can also be effective.
Although there is a lot of evidence showing the benefits of elderberries there is still much to be learned about its immune boosting effects. Don’t forget sourcing quality matters when choosing your elderberries and since I don’t have a local reliable source I tend to purchase from here. If you have questions feel free to open up convo with your doctor.
Maybe you’ve heard about financial investments, educational investments, and even gym membership investments but what about investments into upgrading your mindset?
I know it may not seem worth investing in as your mind is always ‘on’ but truth be told your mind may not be focused on the right things and that could be holding you back. I know it was for me!
Just like you workout your muscles, your brain and your thoughts also need a workout of their own and that requires just as much effort on a daily basis as anything else.
I describe a healthy mindset as one that is able to find the good in all things, that focuses on the positive aspects, and seeks to increase awareness and adaptability.
Becoming aware of just how important your attitude and mindset is in all your decisions is vital and although it’s work, it is the best investment you will ever make in yourself.
Here are 5 tips to help you create a healthier mindset:
The attitude of gratitude is the winning mindset to have. When your mindset is fostering a lot of negative thoughts and opinions you find yourself believing what you have is not enough as compared to someone else. It’s time to ditch those ideas and give daily gratitude for the things you have (big and small) as well as the things you want to attract into your life that aren’t yet apparent to you.
Setting Clear Boundaries
Too often as women we can get caught in allowing others negative drama to capture our precious time. This can be so difficult but having clear boundaries for your time and energy will allow your mind to be in a space to be creative towards the things you want.
I am a Physical Therapist so I cannot leave movement out of the equation. Physical movement that you enjoy not only helps your body but the endorphins released help your brain and often spark that creative and imaginative spirit that allows you to strive for your goals.
Having a healthy mindset means you need to foster a willingness to learn something new and also put it into action. Podcasts or personal development books are a great way to start, just remember no action no growth.
You may have heard it before however you act and think like the 5-10 people you spend the most time around. When you are spending more time around like minded and positive people you are more inclined to view things in a much different way!
Creating a healthy mindset will absolutely feel daunting and like a second job at first, but remain consistent and you will see just how seamless and engrained this way of thinking becomes in your daily life. I suggest starting with 1-2 of the tips and move forward from there. No point in getting stress and frustrated trying to do it all at once right? Have fun!