Whether your person died in 2022 or twenty years ago, transitioning into a New Year can bring strong emotions when you're grieving. Feeling strong emotions is normal. Not knowing what do with those feelings is normal. You may dreading the thought of a yet another year without your person - or starting the first year without them in it.
Here are some ideas and suggestions that may help you cope with grief on New Year's and other special occasions.
1. Skip the self-improvement resolutions and focus on self-care. Try to treat yourself with compassion and take care of your body, mind, and spirit.
2. Remember that you are not leaving your person behind. Yes, the number changed and more time has passed but you will never forget your person. Take a few moments to think of how your person is still with you or additional ways they could be. Wear their jewelry. Watch their favorite movie. Try to take up their favorite hobby. Share the memories.
3. Replace "Happy New Year" with a different phrase. You may be feeling everything but happy, and other people may not know that. Come up with a mantra to say to yourself (or aloud) every time someone wishes you a Happy New Year - such as "May I be kind to myself this year" or "Have a safe and peaceful New Year!"
4. Incorporate your grief into the next year. Try to plan ahead when you'll need extra support. Knowing what you are going to do, or what you want to avoid, on those special grief days may be helpful. Schedule time off work if needed. Plan a family gathering or lunch with friends. Book a vacation. And remember - it's always okay to change any plans.
"I resolve to take you with me into the new year and then every day after that. I’ll hold onto memories of you, each a separate thread connected to our life together. I’ll jumble them up into a ball, so I’m not constantly getting tangled in the past. But I’ll make sure I can still pull out a single string whenever I want to remember."
-Eleanor Haley, What's Your Grief
See the full reading here - A New Year's Resolution for Grievers
More information about New Year's Intentions and "planning" your grief, check out this article from our friends at The Dougy Center.