Handling Grief In The Festive Season

Sharing yourself this holiday season!

Did you notice that the biggest turkey doing the rounds at Thanksgiving is the notion of perfection? With the start of the festive season comes the nostalgic image of perfect families, enjoying a perfect meal, in their perfect home...

Alongside the pressure for festive perfection runs the notion that you have to be happy at this time of year.

For some of us, that’s a breeze, but for people on their own, and especially anyone grieving the loss of a loved one, raising a smile can be a real struggle. It can feel like waves of grief, never knowing when it might arise…

griefTrue Blessings

I gave up perfection long ago…so prefer to think of myself as fun, caring, but not nearly perfect. You’ll have a much happier and more relaxed time if you ditch the thankless striving for the idyllic holidays, and instead take time to think about all that you’re truly thankful for – family, friends, and your health.

There’s a saying that goes, “ when you have your health, you have a million wishes, but when you don’t have your health, you have just one…. (yes, to have health).”

Looking back, you might even be surprised to find that your most treasured memories of this time of year are from the times when things actually didn’t go as planned.

Remember that Christmas when… ? Good (though unexpected) times!

Joy To The World

Alongside the pressure for festive perfection runs the notion that you have to be happy at this time of year.

griefFor some of us, that’s a breeze, but for people on their own, and especially anyone grieving the loss of a loved one, raising a smile can be a real struggle. It can feel like waves of grief, never knowing when it might arise.

I experienced this very unexpectedly this Thanksgiving morning as I was preparing my bacon wrapped almond stuffed dates for our Thanksgiving get together at a friend of the family’s house. I pulled out my mom’s cookie sheet, lay out the parchment paper, and started making the dates, and nostalgically remembered all the years of her cooking in the kitchen with so much love. I felt the weight of all my losses… my mom, my father, and my son… and what they are missing too.

I stood and sobbed and sobbed and grieved….

Allowing all the emotions and memories flow, not stuffing it, as I have many times, left me ok, and with great appreciation for all the memories. (My daughter Amira saw me and bear hugged me, making me cry more. Oh the chaos of emotions of grief!)

Never are feelings of sadness more incongruous than during Christmas and Thanksgiving. This is the season we often the past and feels most keenly the absence of the people whom we’ve been lucky enough to love.

Reflecting on my personal experience with grief led me to gather some thoughts and ideas last year that you might find helpful if you’re making your own journey towards recovery. Click here to learn more.

The Wrong Kind Of Stuffing

griefNow, it may be tempting to seek comfort at the bottom of a wine bottle or to block out feelings of sadness and loneliness with a third helping of pumpkin pie. But stuffing those feelings down deep and ignoring them prevents you from letting them go.  

Grief and sorrow might not be your favorite callers, but they are part of life, as normal and natural as green grass and bunny rabbits. When you accept them and allow them into your life their power over you will begin to fade. Sadness over your loss will eventually transition into fond memories of the loved ones who are gone.

Rethinking Grief

Grief is one of the hardest things a person will encounter in their life. As terrible as it feels, I now try to consider it a privilege to experience because it means I have truly and deeply loved someone.

The greater sorrow would be never having had a relationship that was worth grieving for. Grief can have the positive effect of making us see more value in the relationships we have and bring us closer to the people around us.

griefHealing Through Positive Action

We all grieve in different ways and what helps you through the process might not resonate with someone else. I have found personally that the most important step in the grieving process is giving myself permission to feel the pain.

Rather than focusing on my sadness, I try to make an effort to connect with the world by consciously doing something positive. Volunteering at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen, or taking cookies to an elderly neighbor who is on their own are small ways to turn my attention towards someone else.

If you’re a single mom alone with your kids, why not invite other single moms and their children over for a slumber party or board game night? I call them sister slumber nights!


Finally, remember to take special care of yourself. You might not feel like exercising or making the effort to prepare nourishing meals for yourself, but your mental strength feeds off your physical wellness.

You can stay hydrated and strong throughout the festive period with my nurturing Mighty Maca® Plus blend. This superfood green drink is packed full of ingredients to support your system and give you a natural boost.

And, to mark the start of the season of gifting, we are offering a Mighty Maca Plus trial pack containing four individually wrapped portions of this tasty and energizing drink, for the cost of shipping only.

Dedicate A Moment To The Missing

You might find it helpful to set aside a particular moment to remember the loved ones who are no longer with you.

Roll the memories and thoughts you have of them throughout the day into a ball. When the planned moment arrives, find somewhere quiet, and pull out each thought one by one from the ball, allowing yourself to live for that moment in your memory.

This technique might help you to be present for the rest of the day, and to allow you to find joy in your blessings.  

I wish you lots of love and joy this season, much health and abundant blessings, and that you remember to be gentle on yourself when those sad moments enter into your day.

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Dr. Anna Cabeca

Dr. Anna Cabeca

Certified OB/GYN, Anti-Aging and Integrative Medicine expert and founder of The Girlfriend Doctor. During Dr. Anna’s health journey, she turned to research to create products to help thousands of women through menopause, hormones, and sexual health. She is the author of best-selling The Hormone Fix, and Keto-Green 16 and MenuPause.

Learn more about my scientific advisory board.