Below is a guest post from AJ Richichi, founderof www.ChronicleMe.com:
Although illustrated as the best time of year, the holidays can be very difficult for people suffering, and who have suffered, with addictions with grief triggers. A few years ago, my grandfather passed away in the middle of the summer. Months later around Christmas time, it became evident for the first time that he was gone… forever. I felt as if he died once more, as his favorite chair remained open the entire night and his favorite foods remained untouched. The Holidays became a reminder of his absence, not a celebration of family and the New Year.
Grief is a difficult thing to manage. It lies with you as you try to sleep and remains with you throughout the day. It’s complicated and varies with each experience. I wish I had the solution or could develop an equation to find ‘x’, however I’ve come to understand that, for me, grief and other stress in my life can be significantly reduced with a number of things.
1. In depth conversations with family. Instead of asking dead-end questions about their day or the weather, ask questions about their job, work, or personal life.
2. Exercise. Whether its 30 minutes before everyone wakes up for the holiday party or after you open gifts, exercise can give you much needed time to reflect and decompress.
3. Go out to breakfast with your parents. As a young adult a few years out of school, I’ve found that my relationship has changed with my parents. Through countless discussions, I've matured to realize that me growing up was challenging for both parties. When my relationship is good with them, all other elements of my life tend to be less stressful.
4. Read! Blog or book, magazine or newspaper, find a quiet place and learn from other perspectives, viewpoints, and opinions.
The holidays are a time of cheer and joy. However, it can be a hard month based on your particular situation. It’s important to keep a positive mindset. How do you deal with the holidays? What’s worked for you in the past? I’d love to hear your thoughts. –AJ
AJ Richichi is Founder of www.ChronicleMe.com, the positive social network based on supporting fellow community members. Working alongside countless self-help organizations, ChronicleMe has recently launched infographic campaigns to help raise awareness and educate millions of people with topics including mental health, sexual assault, suicide prevention, domestic violence, and cyber-bullying.