How To Prepare For The Hard Dates

A senior man showing his wedding album and remembering his late wife

Grief can get easier as time goes on, but it never really goes away. And though grief can manifest at times when we least expect it, when you lose a loved one, it’s not uncommon to dread certain dates. Whether it’s holidays, anniversaries, or birthdays, it can be hard to celebrate without them. It’s important that we honor our emotions, as well as those we have lost. While there is no way to know how the day will go, below are tips and ideas for you to keep in mind and use as you need.

Practice Self-Care

Sometimes, we get so caught up in daily life that we forget to practice self-care. Self-care looks different for everyone, but if you’re unsure where to start, here are some ideas:

  • Taking a long, relaxing bath or shower
  • Watching a favorite TV show or movie
  • Praying
  • Going for a walk or hike
  • Listening to your favorite album, podcast, or audiobook
  • Attending solo or group counseling
  • Trying out a new hobby or revisiting an old one
  • Cooking a special meal or baking a special treat
  • Scheduling a spa pampering session
  • Reading
  • Connecting with loved ones
  • Journaling
  • Decluttering and organizing your space
  • Ordering your favorite takeout
  • Taking a day off from work or school to recharge

Remember, self-care is all about doing something that you enjoy and makes you feel relaxed, fulfilled, and content. It’s about taking time out of your day to look after your own physical, emotional, and mental well-being. No matter what it is for you, take some time to do what brings you comfort.

Connect With Memories

Many people find comfort in connecting with the memories of their loved ones. Just like grief, this is a highly personal and individualized experience. However, there are some more broad ways to connect, such as:

  • Visiting a sentimental spot
  • Looking through photos or videos
  • Sharing stories about the loved one
  • Cooking their favorite meal or a meal you both loved

Sometimes, even just talking out loud to them can bring comfort. Do whatever will make you feel more connected to your loved one. 

Let Yourself Feel

Sometimes, the dread of the upcoming day can rule our thoughts. It’s not uncommon that people find their thoughts repeating, “The day is a few days away. You’ll be okay, it won’t be bad,” and while positivity is great, might we suggest a gentle reframing? Instead of “I’ll be fine, it won’t be bad,” consider thinking, “It may be hard, and that’s alright.” It’s okay if the day is hard. It’s important to meet ourselves with empathy.

Grief comes with such a wide range of emotions – it’s healthy (and important) to let them out. Maybe you channel some hurt out with an early-morning boxing class, seek comfort by lighting a prayer candle for your loved one, or maybe you have a much-needed cry while looking at photos. Whatever emotions you feel, it’s important to let them out in a healthy way.

Reach Out For Support

You don’t have to go through your grief alone. If you are anticipating a difficult time, reach out to friends and family beforehand to let them know you may need some support soon.

While connecting with friends and family is a fantastic way to get support, many find comfort in counseling and support groups. The shared experience of support groups can create a sense of community that fosters lifelong friendships, and one-on-one counseling can help you create peace within yourself.

At Spiritual Care Support Ministries, our faith-based counseling is non-denominational. We accept those from all walks of life with open arms and listening ears. To enquire about any of our resources and services, please fill out our email form, or call us at 540-349-5814.

Though it may feel like it at times, we promise you aren’t alone.

Questions & Comments

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