Coping With the Holidays as a Widow

You don’t really need Nat King or Bing to sing it to you, although they’re always ready to oblige.

Yes, it’s here again. That season of constant tugs on the heartstrings, appeals to tradition and full immersion in family events that can be so meaningful and joyful, and yet so difficult for one still learning to adjust to the unimaginable loss of a spouse. How can one cope with the return of grief during this time of year yet still thrive as the holiday season unfolds?

Here’s a few suggestions we’ve learned have worked for widows and widowers navigating the year-end holidays.

Simplify the schedule

We all know the feeling of the holidays galloping through our lives, leaving us spinning in their wake. Coping with the holidays as a widow may require bringing it down to a manageable size. Resist the temptation to overcommit, embracing the opportunity to simply let life happen at your own personal pace.

Reach out a little

There are people in your life who would help, given the opportunity to do so. They may be our friends and family. In addition, we at Sonata Senior Living have known instances where new friends and acquaintances made in our communities simply provide a hand at just the right time. New friends in senior living can broaden our conception of family and help us cope when we need it most.

Feel your feelings

The holidays are a magical time of year, but may also trigger feelings that have the power to overwhelm, particularly when we are grieving. Being true to yourself means being honest with those in your life. Talking about your feelings rather than stuffing them can help us cope with emotions when they come.

Try something new

Especially for those dealing with loss, the holidays can surprise us with their power if we leave space for the power of surprise. This can mean simply having the willingness to try out a new opportunity for socializing or exploring a new craft or artistic endeavor. Senior living communities like Sonata Senior Living offer an abundance of social opportunities, particularly around the holidays.

Do what works, not what’s expected

The holidays can seem like a welter of expectations. But these can be extra burdensome when we are processing grief. Do what feels right and be willing to do less or accept the help of others if it helps you feel less overwhelmed. At Sonata, our model of designing one’s day around one’s personal preferences is based on doing what works for the individual. It is an important part of the person-directed care we provide in our independent living, assisted living and memory care communities in Florida.

Let grace happen

The end of the year and the beginning of the new are intertwined. While enjoying the holiday season, we should avoid exhaustion so that we can recommit to a robust and active approach to life. Practicing a spiritual approach to living is one of seven dimensions of wellness at Sonata Senior Living. In fact, our proprietary Live It Up! program for life enrichment is based on these seven principles.

Grace has a way of descending on us when least expected. All it needs is for us to be open to its power and presence. Recognize that spirituality in whatever form you believe may be what we most need to prevail the holiday season fully restored and face life with the opportunity for gain, even with the reality of loss.

Learn more about the award-winning independent and assisted living at Sonata Senior Living and schedule a tour today.


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