Yes, there is a connection between gratitude and grief. In fact, without grief it's hard to understand gratitude itself. It boils down to perspective. Through loss, which is the mother of grief, big emotions bubble to the surface. Memories, shared experiences, places, anniversaries of events all come flooding back at random moments. It is in that loss, that appreciation for what you do have also comes to the surface.
Anyone reading this blog knows loss and grief. You don't get to be an adult without having setbacks and disappointments with yourself, your family, your career, your finances, your health. It's normal, but obviously no fun. It's part of everyone's life, but no one really wants to talk about it especially now.
Certain times of year make this extra challenging. Like now. On the one hand, some people say it is the happiest time of the year. That sounds lovely, just like jingle bells. It looks great on tv with Hallmark specials that all end well, commercials where everyone is gathering around a tidied up, decorated house with loads of yummy food (who did it all?). However, real life sometimes feels different.
I have a had clients talk to me about "forced fun" lately. I have heard about "forced" hosting. I have also heard about gathering with family relations who are unkind. I know some people who dread holiday time because they don't have holly jolly activities or invitations, and they feel more lonely and more left out when it appears that everyone is celebrating. In the past, someone told me her biggest stress was finding something to wear to a party because she doesn't go to parties and had no idea what to buy.
Like everything, the story is not black or white, but very mixed. Yes, some people are enjoying themselves and their families and their traditions. But what if this year is throwing you for a loop? What if you are looking at grief instead of gratitude? What if this Thanksgiving (which was one day) gave you a taste of what's to come (which is one month) and you aren't up for it?
You know me. I speak truth. This is what I recommend.
Be who you are, where you are. Be honest with yourself. Remind yourself--this is what's happening now. Maybe not forever. But now.
''Save yourself" is the underlying mantra of navigating the loaded holiday season. Once you are clear about where you are in life--your limits, boundaries, expectations become even clearer. That's a good thing.
When you can, practice your gratitude attitude by focusing on what you do have instead of dwelling on what's going wrong.
Practice self compassion. Be extra kind to yourself. Let others help if they offer. Take an assist from the grocery store if you don't want to cook. Snuggle up to a favorite movie instead of "forcing fun." Confide in a trusted friend that you are not doing well and would appreciate some checking in on without holiday ho ho ho in the background.
Continue to spend time outside. Exercise and meditate and practice the simple three breaths technique. This kind of physical self care and "green therapy" works a lot of magic. The basic routines that are helpful in non holiday months are doubly effective in December.
Some people say "one day at a time." Coach Karen says ONE MOMENT AT A TIME. This enables you to get through the present without burdening yourself with too much pressure.
Reach out if you need an assist with getting through. I am here to help. It is my life's work.
Thank you for reading this blog. It is meant to be helpful. Feel free to forward it to someone who needs the message.
xo Coach Karen :))
Reminder--I am doing LIVE ZOOM GROUP COACHING MONDAY NIGHTS in NOVEMBER and DECEMBER at 7PM. Tonight's Coaching is about FUN.... how to create it--what to focus on--what traditions to keep--where to start over--how to feel ok about your new choices. This is donation based ($15 or $20) per session. Payable on Zelle, Venmo, PayPal. Here is the zoom link: