Fly with the Phoenix

Surviving the holiday hoopla
November 18, 2010, 1:42 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Knock knock. Who’s there? Icon. Icon who?

“Icon” believe the holidays are almost here!

And just as we’d rather avoid the relative who tells annoying jokes (ahem), you may want to skip right into Jan. 2 if you find yourself in transition this holiday season.

I have a hole in my heart this year as I look at Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas and New Year’s as a newly divorced woman. My daughter recently was humming “Blue Christmas” and I had to ask her to please stop because the tune simply made me sad.

Maybe you are looking at the holidays and new year as an unemployed person and Christmas–with its spending frenzy–just stresses you even more.

Changes in our family or circle of friends can be especially acute during the holidays. An article on suggests that we become overcommitted during the holidays because we feel like old traditions must be kept up, even if they are no longer suitable to our lives ( Sometimes, as the article suggests, we simply have to say no.

If big dinners with relatives just don’t seem appropriate for you this year, how would you feel about trying to volunteer for the day–whatever day feels comfortable for you? Visit to find a volunteer opportunity near you. If you want to help servicemen and women this holiday, click on to find USO programs in your area. There likely are shelters or churches in your community that will offer a meal and fellowship to people in need. Consider lending a hand and then getting together with a friend for a simple meal after.

Perhaps your loss is fresha and serving right now is not appropriate for you. Alan D. Wolfelt, an internationally noted author, educator and grief counselor at the University of Colorado Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine, has these self-care tips for you.

Talk about your grief with a caring friend or relative who will listen without judging you.

Be tolerant of your physical and psychological limits and respect what your body and mind are telling you. Lower your own expectations about being at your peak during the holiday season.

Eliminate unnecessary stress, realizing also that merely “keeping busy” won’t distract you from your grief, but may increase stress and postpone the need to talk out thoughts and feelings related to your grief.

Plan for family gatherings and decide which family traditions you want to continue and which new ones you would like to begin. Getting caught off guard can create feelings of panic, fear and anxiety during the time of the year when your feelings of grief are already heightened.

Express your faith or attend a holiday service or special religious ceremony.

Should you need to speak to a professional, your local hospital may host a grief support group. These usually are facilitated by one or two leaders, and participants gather to discuss topics about losing someone that was close to them. You also can find groups in Missouri at or in Kansas City at Life Preservers is an online grief support community and is available at

For more sensible solutions to celebrating the holidays during transition, join us for the a Custody Chat teleclass, “Help! It’s the Holidays!” at 7 p.m. CST Nov. 23. It’s a free 30-minute teleclass; just email deb@hopefultransitions for the instructions (phone number and passcode).

Give yourself the gift of self-care this holiday as you make a life transition from living with someone special to moving on without them.



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