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Your Guide to Being Savvy this Silly Season

Put your hand up if you’ve ever gone on a multi-day hike in the mountains - just because lots of other people are doing it - without any planning, preparation or packing. 

No? Didn’t think so.

We would never set off on a backcountry adventure without:

  • Gauging our fitness (and perhaps building fitness)
  • Perusing the maps, route and guide book for details about terrain, elevation, water sources, huts or camping locations
  • Checking the weather
  • Carefully selecting appropriate gear from sleeping bag and mat to footwear, clothing and wet weathers.

So why would we stumble blindly into the holiday season without a moment to consider how we might best prepare ourselves?

I get it. Grieving is tough. It’s hard work. And you’d rather banish Christmas to the fiery underworld. Pretending it’s not going to happen this year. Or letting your future self deal with it.

But you know what they say about the 5 (or 6) Ps - Proper Preparation Prevents (Piss) Poor Performance. While Christmas isn't actually a performance (or arguably, it also kinda is) some time and attention to preparation for navigating this time will go a loooong way.

 

Here are a few things to think about so you can be savvy this silly season:

 

Grief Triggers

You’ll be aware of things, people, situations, food, smells (etc etc!) that are griefy triggers for you, and you can probably anticipate others that will arise over the holidays. But what about those heavy-hitting hooks that come outta nowhere? How are you best going to support yourself when something knocks you flat without warning?

 

Remembrance

Let your mind wander on what feels right as a way of remembering and honouring your person. You might raise the topic with family and friends you’ll be spending time with and ask if they’d like to join and/or contribute.

 

Boundaries

How are you going to spend your time and energy this year? Give yourself permission to not join in the merry-making, to be sad, to say no thank you. Practise it in the mirror if you need to - being clear, specific, no negotiating and no apologising. On the flip side, also give yourself permission to enjoy fun times with family and friends!

If you pay attention, your body is likely giving you a clear answer. Check out my examples below and explore with your own experiences to help tune into your full body yes/no.

Someone to me: would you like brussels sprouts on your plate?

My body: hellll no, I’ll barf if you say the word again.

Someone to me: would you like to go for a swim?

My body: Absolutely!

Note: If you’re using the word *should* eg. ‘I should go to this thing / see this person / etc, I’ll put money on that being a full body no, but your brain is rationalising all the reasons it’s a yes.

 

Nourish Yourself

What do you need to support you this year? What can you do to care for yourself? Hint: almost-daily movement would go well at the top of your list.

This might include finding a safe space for you and your grief, a space where you don’t need to pretend that you’re not still grieving. (The art of pretending, outwardly behaving in a way that is in misalignment with our internal experience, can help us survive certain situations. But it’s not a healthy long-term solution. It’s an additional burden to an already frazzled nervous system.) Your safe space might be a trusted friend or family member, time in nature, pen and journal, or a trusted professional.

 

Mindful Consuming

As much as humanly possible, strive for mindful, informed choices. A simple question to bring clarity to this is “Is this helping or harming me?” This applies all across the board:

  • People you spend time with (see boundaries above)
  • Social media - yes, yes we all know it’s a highlight reel, but we forget that entirely once we’ve fallen into the scroll-hole.
  • Media in general
  • Food and alcohol - no judgement here, I’ll be (mindfully!) having my fair share of pav and pinot.

If you’re tempted beyond your intended quota for any of the above you might also consider HALT. Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired? (We’re grieving, let’s be honest, more often than not most of these probably apply. And it’s perfectly valid.)

 

Next Year

The arrival of a new year as a griever can be terrifying to say the least. It’s a clear marker of the passing of time when those year digits tick over. Continuing our measuring of time in “time since…”

The prospect of another painful, empty year ahead can be overwhelming. Remember, there are no stages of grief, neither grieving nor healing is linear. There might be an array of complex and contradicting emotions. It might be complicated and that’s OK.


If you’d like support in creating your plan to be silly season savvy, and have someone walk alongside you throughout, I’m offering several new 1:1 coaching spots at the moment. There are options for a one-off session, 4-week and 8-week containers - bespoke and customised to meet you wherever you’re at in the wilderness of grief right now. Send me an email or book a call at the link below.

x, Hannah

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