2020 has been quite the year! The holidays are always a particularly difficult time for grieving families, and that will continue to be the case, even in 2020. This holiday season, we are encouraging our Good Grief community to choose and practice gratitude. Research has shown that practicing gratitude can improve mental health, untangle us from toxic emotional patterns, bring us closer to the ones we love, and build overall resilience.
Use the tips below to help your family navigate the holidays, or share them with families in your community! As someone in our Good Grief community, you can play an important role in reducing the isolation for grieving children and families.
Join us on this journey to close out the year by practicing gratitude and building resilience together.
TIPS FOR PRACTICING GRATITUDE
BUILD A PLAN OR USE OUR 14-DAY GRATITUDE JOURNAL!
It is easy to have good intentions at the start of a challenge like this. But, if you do not create a plan with detailed steps to follow, then it can be easy to lose track of. Consider using our 14-Day Holiday Gratitude Journal, or choose a length of time that feels manageable for you. Set aside the same time of day, every day, to practice gratitude, and then pick a date to start!
INVITE OTHERS TO JOIN
Accountability with a family member, coworker, or friend will help you to stick to your practice! Invite someone to jump on the “gratitude train” with you and set aside time for a weekly check in on each other. If you plan to practice with your family, discuss when, where, and how you will all share gratitudes together.
EXPLAIN TO CHILDREN WHY GRATITUDE IS IMPORTANT
Many kids may not be feeling very optimistic or grateful this year, especially if they have been impacted by loss. That is not only okay, but completely understandable. Share this gratitude activity with your child. Explain that you want to remember the things that you still have to be grateful for together, that it helps people feel better when they are sad, and that it will bring you closer together as a family. Even if they do not share, studies have shown that just reflecting on what we are grateful for can have positive effects.
DON’T SUPPRESS DIFFICULT EMOTIONS AND EXPERIENCES
Practicing gratitude does not mean that we have to ignore the harsh realities of our lives. Practicing gratitude is about feeling and acknowledging all of the pain and sorrow, and then choosing to continue remembering the things that you can still be grateful for. In fact, our so-called “negative” emotions, like sadness, are there to help us to slow down and reflect in times of pain and loss. So, allow yourself to slow down, reflect, and remember both the joys and sorrows of life.
BE KIND AND PATIENT WITH YOURSELF
Practicing gratitude is not easy. There will be days when you will feel like there is nothing to be grateful for. That is okay. Acknowledge those thoughts and feelings. Allow yourself to recognize that those thoughts and feeling do not define you. Then, when you are ready, continue reminding yourself of the things that you can be grateful for this year.
RESOURCES FOR THE HOLIDAYS
For additional resources, check out our COVID-19 Updates and Resources page.