The coronavirus holiday season 2020 kicked off this past week with Thanksgiving and Americans made their decisions to either forego the traditional Thanksgiving Day celebrations with family and friends or decided it was worth the risk of exposing themselves and others to the coronavirus, which has now caused more than 13 million cases in the U.S. and sent a record 90,000 plus to hospitals.
For those mourning the loss of a loved one to coronavirus to those who are isolated from loved ones due to distance or quarantine, this year’s holiday season will be much more difficult, complicated by the pandemic.
If you’ve lost a loved one, this holiday season will be unspeakably difficult. Know you don’t need to feel obligated to engage in holiday traditions as you have in the past, and it’s perfectly acceptable if you choose not to celebrate at all this year. Some may decide to find special ways to honor and include the memory of their lost loved one. What’s most important is to remember that struggling and grieving through the holidays after losing someone to COVID-19 or anything else doesn’t make you a negative person, it just makes you human. Grief is an individual process—there is no timeline or correct way to do it. Acknowledge your feelings and do so without judging yourself for feeling them.
Unfortunately, compounding the grief of those who lost loved ones to coronavirus this year is the divide in our country over COVID and how to protect oneself from it. Many of those struggling with that grief feel that if the Trump administration had taken it seriously from the beginning, they might still have their loved ones here to celebrate with them. But even families who haven’t lost someone to COVID are experiencing grief and anger at the events of 2020.
This year, unlike others, it may seem easier to focus on all that’s missing and all that has been lost this past year: People, jobs, social gatherings, homes, a sense of normalcy, and a broader sense of safety in the world.
So what are some ways to cope with stress and grief during the holidays and look forward to a better year ahead?
When you’re feeling particularly stressed, learn to practice mindfulness. Focus on just one thing in just one moment—how the sun feels shining in through the window warming you in that moment—giving you a reprieve from focusing on the stress or loss. Or consider that one moment in your life in relation to your entire life, humanity, or even the universe as a whole. While is doesn’t make the current situation any less difficult, it puts the focus back on reminding you that life is bigger than any one moment. And always be gentle and take good care of yourself.
For those separated by quarantine or distance and spending the holidays alone, don’t underestimate the power of connecting virtually or finding family or friends where you can. Reach out and ask for help.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Be grateful to be alive. Be grateful you feel pain and longing—it’s how we grow and become more self-aware and learn to see things in a more positive light. Be grateful if you have a home, food, shelter and protection from the elements, the base level of Maslow’s Heirarchy. And if you don’t have those or are facing eviction or standing in a food line, be grateful for unmet needs that lead to pain and longing, for they motivate us to become more creative in finding ways to meet our needs. Remember, necessity is the mother of invention.
Be grateful for forgiveness and learn to forgive yourself—for all true forgiveness begins within.
Be grateful for your failures and shift your perspective to see failures differently. See them as gifts of adversity and signs of ambition—nothing ventured, nothing gained. Failures are great learning opportunities, even teaching us how to learn to fail better! Realize there’s nothing to be afraid of with failure and that failing is not the end of your story, it’s the beginning of your next best chapter.
Be grateful for all the people and relationships in your life—your family, friends, pets, co-workers, acquaintances, and even your so-called enemies—for they bring you knowledge and understanding about yourself leading to more self-awareness.
Be grateful for hope and faith, for they are prerequisites to optimism and knowing better times are ahead. Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible, and receives the impossible.
Trump will soon be out of office, the pandemic will end at some point, we have an empathetic President-elect who will re-establish leadership in America, and the economy will rebound. While the challenges we face will not be easy, together, with the right attitudes, we will figure out solutions and move forward in growth. And that’s definitely one more thing to be grateful for!
JOIN Barb and John as they discuss Coping with the Coronavirus Holidays
Author and holistic healthcare practitioner Maggie LaTourelle joins the show during the second hour to discuss her book, The Gift of Alzheimer’s: New Insights Into the Potential of Alzheimer’s and Its Care.
Here in the U.S., there are more than five (5) million people affected by Alzheimer’s Disease. Every 67 seconds, someone new develops the disease. Alzheimer’s kills more people than breast and prostate cancers combined, and it’s the only leading cause of death that cannot be prevented, slowed or stopped. Unfortunately, everyone with a brain is at risk.
The Gift of Alzheimer’s is a practical guide that brings knowledge and understanding about Alzheimer’s to families, caregivers, health care professionals and educators. It covers a wide range of subjects and draws on Maggie’s own personal experience, recent research in neuroscience, information from medical and non-medical sources and Alzheimer’s organizations.
Maggie will discuss such subjects as:
Facts About Alzheimer’s: What is Alzheimer’s? Symptoms and stages of Alzheimer’s.
Core Care Conditions: Wellbeing, connecting, presence, compassion and love, trusted companion and validation.
Communication: Meaningful Communication, non-verbal communication, empathy, emotional contagion, touch, verbal communication, directness, thoughts and memory and subtle energy.
Memory and Emotions: Memory, emotional Memory, changing emotional landscape and healing the past.
The Brain: Repetition, fixating, oblivious to errors, mis-perception of time, mis-perception of age and intermittent disruption.
Altered States of Consciousness: Lucidity and Other Worlds.
Other Core Care Provision: Creative activities, outings, exercises, hydration, treatment and remedies.
Caring for Yourself, and Guided Visualization Exercises.
It is our emotions, our feelings, that give meaning to our lives and this is no different for people with Alzheimer’s. Although their physical bodies and parts of their brain are deteriorating their emotions live on. This means people with Alzheimer’s can stay connected to people and the world through feelings, right to the end of their lives.
Maggie LaTourelle has worked in the field of holistic healthcare for 30 years as a practitioner, teacher and writer. She has written and contributed to a number of books and articles and has lectured at some of the UK’s leading universities. Her book, Principles of Kinesiology, continues to be a worldwide classic.
For more information, visit http://thegiftofalzheimers.com.
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