Day #12 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas

by Karla Helbert

Day 12 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas

The twelfth coping strategy is “Something Nice for Someone Else”

For many people in grief, doing acts of kindness, volunteering, doing something to bring comfort, a smile, or some love to another person is a way that we can find a bit of peace within our own pain.

Research shows that volunteerism and altruistic acts to benefit others have long term physical, emotional, and mental health benefits. Doing things for others can result in increased feelings of well-being. It brings a sense of purpose and helps us create meaning when life makes no sense. Studies also show … Read more... “Day #12 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas”

Day #11 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas

The eleventh coping strategy is “Sleep”

Anxiety, depression and grief can make finding sleep a challenge. Most of the coping strategies that we have posted thus far will help with sleep but if you are in the early days of grief, it’s crucial because a day in early grief with no sleep is intolerable.

So I’ll share my strategy after Charles’ suicide. I did call my doctor and ask for a prescription for promethazine which is the generic name of Phenergan. It’s a drug used for nausea, after surgery usually, that makes me very tired. It makes most people tired, is … Read more... “Day #11 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas”

Day #9 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas

by Karla Helbert

The ninth coping strategy is “Make Something”

It doesn’t matter whether you think you are creative or not. You are.

When you’re living with heart-crushing grief, just figuring out how to get out of bed is a creative endeavor. I talk to people a lot about being creative in grief and how helpful it can be. When I teach workshops or do retreats, we do all sorts of creative things in our grief. And people always say, “I’m just not creative,” or “I’m not an artist,” or “I can only draw stick figures.” Stick figures can do … Read more... “Day #9 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas”

Day #8 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas

This one is easy but difficult for some to do. Talking about your loved one helps heal.

The eighth coping strategy is “talk.”

Many of you have realized that other people will completely ignore you and wish you’d just stop talking about your dead or suffering child. But this is my argument to those people, “I will stop talking about my dead child when you stop talking about your living ones.”

I have written a lot on this subject and refuse to let someone else make me bury the memory of my child because it makes them uncomfortable. Someone who does … Read more... “Day #8 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas”

Day #3 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas

by Karla Helbert

The third coping strategy is “Make a Plan”

For those of us in grief, the holidays are most definitely not the most wonderful time of the year. No matter how long it has been since your beloved died.

It has been nearly 13 years since my son, Theo, died of a brain tumor when he was just a baby and the holidays continue to be a struggle for me in many ways. If you are in early grief—and by early, I mean the first year, second year, third year, sometimes further in—the holidays can be excruciating.

Thank … Read more... “Day #3 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas”

Life is not a sugar-coated fairy tale

At some point, you will have adversity in your life. Death, divorce, illness, tragedy, natural disaster, accidents, loss of a job or something.

How will you cope? What are unhealthy coping strategies? What are healthy coping strategies?

We all self medicate at some point. If not with drugs or alcohol, with ice cream and snack foods. The trouble is with that approach is that we don’t solve anything. We just delay the solution or the healing process. And in so doing, we gain weight, develop problems with drugs or alcohol, and otherwise end up with more issues than we started … Read more... “Life is not a sugar-coated fairy tale”