How To Face A Difficult Christmas Image With Lighted Tree.

6 Ways to Take Care of Yourself While Facing a Difficult Christmas!

This year has been a difficult one for many people, and Christmas is no exception. For many, the holiday season is a time of stress and worry, as they try to make ends meet and provide for their families. For others, it is a time of sadness and loneliness, as they remember loved ones who are no longer with them. Learning to deal with grief during the holidays is never easy. But Christmas is also a time of hope and joy, as we remember the birth of Jesus Christ and the promise of His love and grace. No matter what our circumstances may be, we can find hope and peace in Him. 

Penny always referred to herself as a “Queen of Christmas”. She was always the first in her family to start putting up holiday decorations, and her husband joked that a new Christmas tree found its way to their home every year.

Then one December, Penny’s father was hit and killed by a drunk driver. Suddenly, the season that had meant so much to her was colored by grief and depression. She’d been close to her father all her life, and even when she became an adult, she often called him every day just to chat.

Heartache can change the most beautiful season of all into a time of despair and discouragement for many.

For Penny, the loss of her father turned Christmas into a time of sadness and grief. Before, the season had always been a time of joy for her, but now it was a reminder of her father’s death. Even though she still tried to make the best of it, Christmas was no longer the same for her. ⁠

Grief: The Unwanted Visitor

Like Penny, you may be dealing with the death of a loved one during this time of year. But grief comes in many forms, and it’s not just limited to the loss of a beloved family member or friend.

Grief is the natural response to loss. Sometimes, the loss is a relationship, such as going through a divorce or becoming estranged from your child. Other times, the loss might be that of a dream, such as learning you’re infertile and will never have children. The loss can also come in the form of a natural disaster that destroys your home or livelihood.

In these moments, it’s hard to celebrate. Christmas just doesn’t feel as festive, and all the joy seems to be missing from your heart.

⁠This time of year can be tough for those grieving. We are reminded of our losses every time we see a happy family gathering or hear Christmas carols playing. It can feel like the whole world is celebrating, while we are left feeling empty and alone. But it is important to remember that grief is a natural response to loss, and there is no right or wrong way to feel. Allow yourself to grieve in whatever way feels right for you. Lean on your friends and family for support, and take comfort in knowing that you are not alone.

Grief is often considered an unwelcome visitor. It’s the feeling we get when we lose someone or something important to us. We may try to push grief away, but it has a way of creeping up on us when we least expect it.  The holidays can be a difficult time for those grieving. There are so many reminders of what we have lost. But there are also ways to make the holidays a little easier.

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6 Ways To Take Care Of Yourself While Facing A Difficult Christmas! 16

Grief Happens in Stages

Many people have heard of the five stages of grief. The idea is that during grief, you’ll walk through five distinct emotional phases. Typically, those phases look like this…

  • · Stage #1: Denial
  • · Stage #2: Anger
  • · Stage #3: Bargaining
  • · Stage #4: Depression
  • · Stage #5: Acceptance

However, it’s important to remember that grief is not linear. You may be at the point where you’re bargaining and think you’ve made it through the first two stages of grief. Only to find an old t-shirt in the back of your closet that reminds you of your loss. Suddenly, you’re back in denial, thinking that this awful thing couldn’t have happened to you.

When you lose someone, it feels like the world stops spinning. Grief is a natural reaction to loss, but it’s often misunderstood. You may find yourself cycling through the stages in a different order each time. There is no “right” way to grieve, and no timeline for grief. Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time.

Grief Comes in Waves

It is perfectly normal to have moments of joy, even in the midst of grief. Grief often comes in waves, and as time goes on, the waves begin to stretch further and further apart. However, there may be times when the waves seem to be coming closer together again. This is normal too. It is important to remember that grief is a process, and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. This is important to remember. This is completely normal. It doesn’t make you a bad person if in the middle of grieving a loved one or coming to terms with something horrible, that you find a brief moment of joy.

Grief Is Unpredictable

Certain sounds, sights, or smells may trigger a fresh wave of grief for you. Paying attention to what those triggers are can help learn to navigate them.

For example, you might be watching a movie where the main character is in the hospital, and be reminded of the stillbirth of your first child. You may feel the trauma, shock, and pain all over again.

When you encounter a trigger, you don’t have to run from it or avoid it. Instead, acknowledge your emotions and express them. You might want to cry, pray, or scream. Do whatever feels right in the moment.

Understand that grief can be a difficult journey, even during the best of times. But the holidays can make it seem especially hard. That’s normal and to be expected. The important thing is to be kind to yourself right now.

Take Care of Yourself

⁠It can be difficult to take care of yourself during times of grief. You may feel like you don’t have the time or energy to do anything extra. But it’s important to remember that self-care is not selfish. In fact, it’s one of the most important things you can do for yourself when you’re grieving. 

Here are a few simple ways to take care of yourself: 

  1. Spend time with God. Soaking with God in the secret place of prayer, worship and devotional intimacy is one of the best ways to take care of yourself and begin healing. 
  2. Get plenty of rest. When you’re grieving, your body needs extra rest. Make sure to get enough sleep and take breaks during the day if you can. 
  3. Eat healthy. It’s easy to turn to comfort food when you’re grieving, but try to make sure you’re getting enough nutritious meals as well. Your body needs the extra nourishment to heal. 
  4. Exercise. Exercise is a great way to release tension and improve your mood. Even a short walk around the block can make a difference. 
  5. Connect with others. When you’re grieving, it’s important to connect with others who understand what you’re going through. Talk to a friend, family member, or counselor. 
  6. Do something you enjoy. Make sure to take some time to do things that make you happy. This can be anything from reading a book to taking a bubble bath. 

Self-care is essential during times of grief. By taking care of yourself, you’re giving yourself the strength to get through this difficult time. Let’s discuss some of these and more in a bit more detail, Shall we? 

How To Face A Difficult Christmas Quote With Lighted Tree.
6 Ways To Take Care Of Yourself While Facing A Difficult Christmas! 17

Eat a Nutritious Meal

Sometimes, people who are grieving have difficulty finding joy in anything. If you’re grieving, it’s normal to lose your appetite or find that your favorite foods don’t taste as good as they used to. This is because when we grieve, our bodies are under a lot of stress, and our sense of taste can be affected. Don’t worry, though, as your appetite will eventually return to normal as you work through your grief. For many, just the thought of a certain meal may bring memories of those we grieve over. This alone can be hard, as we deal with the memories of our loved ones favorite meals. This too is normal, and in time we can enjoy those meals again. 

Do A Creative Activity

Being creative can help release strong emotions. Coloring, knitting, and jewelry making are all great ways to express your creativity. If you find that you don’t enjoy one activity, don’t get discouraged. Try several different activities until you find the one that’s best for you. Often you may even find a new activity you have never tried before. Bible journaling, reading, and painting are also great ways to release your creativity and relieve the stress of grief. 

Pamper Yourself

Sit back and let someone else care for you. Take a spa day, get a massage, or a pedicure. Hire a cleaning service to scrub your home from top to bottom. Get a shampoo and haircut at your local beauty salon. Go to your favorite restaurant and order dinner for yourself.

⁠A day of pampering can be exactly what you need to relax and rejuvenate. Whether you hire someone to do it for you, or you do it yourself, take some time to focus on you. A little self-care can go a long way in making you feel refreshed and ready to take on the world, or at least to start living again. 

Exercise Gently

⁠Exercise is a great way to boost endorphins and make yourself feel better. If you think you’re up to exercising, then try a gentle activity. Remember, your body is still under significant stress, so go easy on yourself. Some good exercise activities include: dance, walking, or swimming. You might like to try using worship flags in your worship time. This too is a great way to be active while praising God and not doing anything too strenuous. Worship is also the best way to bring healing, peace and joy. 

Christmas Star With A Prayer Of Healing And Peace For Grief.
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Understand that Doubts Are Normal

Grief can cause you to question your entire belief system. Maybe you felt you received a sign from God that your loved one was going to be healed, but now, they’re gone.

Maybe you thought marriage was supposed to be for life, but now you’re in the middle of a divorce. Perhaps you thought if you did the right things, you’d never be a victim of a violent crime.

Don’t struggle with your doubts alone. Reach out to a trusted friend or spiritual leader to share your feelings. They may not always have the answers to comfort you. But having someone to confide in and lean on is important for your healing. 

Grief can be incredibly overwhelming, and can cause you to question everything you once believed. It is important to reach out for help. Most importantly, talk to God, the Holy Spirit is your comforter and friend. No one knows better what you are going through or what you need than Him! Talking about your doubts and feelings can be incredibly helpful for your healing process. During times of heartache, it’s natural to want to withdraw. But instead, why not draw near to God and call out to Him for His strength and care? Not only does God care deeply about our pain, He also acts when His children cry out to Him.

“There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” – 1 Samuel 2:2, NIV

Listen to Your Body

When you’re grieving, your normal routine is disrupted. It’s normal to feel like your life is turned upside down after a loss. Maybe you’re not sleeping as much, or you may be sleeping more than usual. You may be eating more or less than you typically do. You might be working more, or you might find yourself working fewer hours.

It’s essential that you honor your body during this time. If you need to nap in the middle of the day, don’t feel guilty. If you need to turn off your smartphone and watch movies all day, then do it. Take time to care for yourself.

In the middle of your grief, don’t forget to take time for you. Be kind to yourself and look after your mind and body as if you were caring for a hurting friend.

Let Yourself Heal

It was a December afternoon when Sarah watched her husband wheeled into surgery. He was headed for a routine procedure to remove his tonsils. “We’d only been married five months at that point. We were newlyweds, and I was still learning so much about him.”

But Sarah’s husband never left the hospital that day. Instead, the anesthesiologist made a mistake, giving him too much medication. He didn’t wake up from the surgery.

In the coming days, Sarah felt broken. “Everyone told me to forgive the anesthesiologist who did this. I got a lot of pressure to move on from other people. One person told me if I didn’t forgive, I was a horrible person.”

Then came the day Mary showed up in Sarah’s life. She was a widow from a local church who often reached out to other widows.

Sarah shared her story, crying through parts of it. “How am I supposed to forgive?” She whispered.

Mary squeezed the woman’s shoulder, “Right now, your only job is to grieve. You need to process what you’re feeling. All the sadness, rage, and pain. Let it come.”

Sometimes, those who are grieving receive the message that they should “just forgive” if someone else is at fault for their loss, but that advice can stunt the grieving process.

“It only compounds loss,” Mary explains. “So now, we have someone who’s grieving, and they feel this guilt and sense of isolation added with it. Many people don’t realize this, but Jesus grieved in the Garden of Gethsemane. Grieving is an important part of the healing process.”

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Grief is a journey

It’s important that you’re patient with yourself during the healing process. Some people think grief is something they should just “bounce back” from. While it would be great if it were that simple, grief is not like stubbing your toe. The pain lasts far longer and goes much deeper.

It’s not uncommon to think you’ve grieved, and you’re done. You imagine you’re through the worst of it, then something crops up and you feel the loss all over again, as if it were day one of your grief.

Understand that grief is not a destination. It’s not an unfamiliar locale that you visit only once. Grief is a journey, and that journey can be ongoing for months, years, or even decades, depending on what you’ve lost.

Create New Traditions

Holiday traditions can give you a feeling of peace and safety. But when you’ve recently lost a loved one or are experiencing grief, your normal traditions may not be possible anymore. That’s where creating new traditions can be helpful.

Penny and her father had a habit of singing Christmas carols every December. Since her father was no longer with her, her husband volunteered to carry on the tradition with her.

But Penny decided she’d rather visit the veteran’s hospital that year to honor her father’s military service. It was a different tradition that would honor her father without reminding her of the pain of her loss.

If you decide you don’t want or can’t do a certain tradition, don’t be hard on yourself. But try to find something to replace it with. A new tradition can give you something to look forward to, as well as the sense that life is returning to normal.

It’s important to understand that there’s no quick fix or escape from grief. The only way to get to the other side is to go through the heartache. But you don’t have to do that alone. Reach out to caring, concerned members of your community, and let them comfort you through this difficult time. Reach out and hold on to God. He is your comfort (Matthew 5:4) and strength in times of grief. He is with you! You are never alone!

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God with us’.” – Matthew 1:23, NIV

Don’t Be Alone in Your Pain

Like Penny, you may be responsible for preparations for the holidays. This can naturally be difficult, but when you factor in the weight of grief, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and distressed.

Instead of thinking it all rests on your shoulders, share the burdens of your celebration with others. Perhaps your in-laws could handle the decorations while your sister plans the menu. Your spouse can shop for the groceries while you buy the gifts.

Don’t feel bad about delegating during the holidays. It’s OK to need help, especially when you’re walking through a season of grief.

When Feeling Along During Grief, Remember God Is Near.
God is always near!

Listen for Dread

Are there holiday traditions that you don’t enjoy? Maybe you love decorating the tree, but you hate wrapping the gifts. Perhaps you hate planning the Christmas dinner menu, but you enjoy the grocery shopping.

Don’t be afraid to swap tasks with family members and friends. When you do this, you let those who are naturally gifted shine. You allow them to be the hands and feet of Jesus, as they were designed to do.

Ask for Support

You don’t have to hide out and cry alone. We are created for community, and we thrive when we receive the support we need. But if no one knows about your loss, they can’t be there for you during this difficult time. 

Tell a trusted friend or family member about what you’re going through. You might say, “This holiday is difficult for me because I lost (name your loss). So right now, I feel (emotion you wish to express).”

When you are feeling alone, remember God is near! An illness, job loss, or tragedy can make you think God has changed or moved. But while your circumstances might shift, God never changes and never abandons His children.

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing…” – Psalm 69:5-6, NIV

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8

Tell People What You Need

Understand that although your family and friends may long to support you, they may not know how to do it. They might be clueless about how to help, and offer only trite suggestions or painful advice.

You can guide them through the process by telling those you love what you need. For example, you might say, “Before he died, Dave and I had date nights on Fridays. Would you be willing to get together on Friday nights with me to do something fun?”

Asking for help can be difficult if you’re not used to doing it. But God created us to bear the burdens of those around us. When you allow others to care for you, you’re allowing others to see a beautiful example of how the church cares for its own.

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” – Proverbs 11:25, NIV

Jesus Was Born In A Manger And Risen As The Savior Of The Word.
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Jesus is something to celebrate

This year has been difficult for so many people. I want to say it again, Christmas is no exception! We often have this illusion that Christmastime is supposed to be magical, filled with love and joy. But for many, that is just not reality. For many, the holiday season is a time of stress and worry. For others, it’s a time of sadness, loneliness, and pain. But Christmas is also a time of hope and joy, as we remember the birth of Jesus Christ and the promise of His love and grace. The gift of eternal life, that He so freely gave is cause to celebrate. No matter what our circumstances may be, we can find hope and peace in Him.

I pray waves of healing and peace over your sweet spirit this Christmas. I pray you can find joy in the memories and strength to keep living life to the fullest. To help you in your healing journey, I want to give you our free 7 day Devotional Journal on facing a difficult Christmas as a gift. When you sign up for the free journal, please know that you will be added to our prayer list. You will be covered in heartfelt prayers before the throne of God as you navigate this holiday season on the journey we call grief. 

I love you, my friend. Please leave me a comment and let me know how this touched you today. Please contact me if I can help you in any way. 

Love And Hugs, Teresa. Author Signature Block Image.
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Scriptures on Grief and Loneliness to comfort your spirit.

Grief Scriptures:

  1. the comfort of friends Job 2:12-13
  2. God comforts in our darkest times Job 35:9-10
  3. God comforts us Isaiah 40
  4. God promises to comfort those who grieve Matthew 5:4 
  5. Holy Spirit is our comforter John 14:16
  6. Jesus has overcome the worlds troubles John 16:33
  7. Holy spirit comforts us Acts 9:31
  8. Bible comforts us Romans 15:4
  9. God comforts those who grieve 2 Corinthians 1:3-11
  10. all grief will end Revelations 21:3-4

Loneliness Scriptures:

  1. God is concerned about our loneliness Genesis 2:18
  2. God encourages the lonely 1 Kings 19:14-18
  3. God takes care of the lonely 1 Kings 19:14-18
  4. God takes care of lonely people Psalm 68:6
  5. Friends help in times of loneliness Ecclesiastes 4:10-11
  6. God remains with us Matthew 28:20

Scripture can often be a deep source of peace and comfort while grieving. You might like to check out Senior Living Ministries article on how to find strength in your grief, as well as their page on verses of comfort for more resources.

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  1. I think I’m still in the anger stage at the moment, but it’s not even the death that bothers me. It’s the way the person treated me when they was alive. And all these feelings came up, the moment the person died. So I will have periods of remembering something that they did to me out of the blue. I often have these triggers and so how do I manage them? Because the person is long gone, but I’m still suffering.

    1. Hey Val,
      My suggestion would be to ask the Lord to show you any unforgiveness or bitterness you might have in your heart toward the person and how they treated you. Sometimes we can bury things so deep trying to move on and forget, we don’t realize we may still have some unforgiveness and bitterness down deep. We can often think these things are grief, and yet they may actually be a root of bitterness, rejection, and other strongholds we are dealing with. I have dealt with this myself, and it is tough to say the least. You know how to contact me if you need to sis. I will be praying for God to speak to you and help you root out whatever is causing this pain for you, and help you heal and move on from it in His love and peace that passes all understanding.

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