-by COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors) National Board
"COPS knows how traumatic holidays can be for survivors. Here are a few suggestions on how to reduce your holiday stress and make the holidays more bearable for you."
To avoid the crowds, shop early or over the Internet. You may find It difficult to s hop in malls with all their holiday decorations, carols, and smiling faces. Survivors say hearing the Christmas carols can be depressing and can bring about grief spasms.
If you've always spent Christmas at home, plan a trip. There is no written rule that says you must be home for the holidays.
Attitude will play a major role In your holidays If you have pre·determined that the holidays will be terrible. they will be. If you allow yourSElf to enjoy the holidays, they may be more enjoyable than you would ever believe.
Pity parties are OK as long as they don't last the entire holiday season. If you need to visit the cemetery, visit early in the day. If you want to have a good cry. set aside some tIme in the morning. too. That will free up the rest of the day for better things.
Honor your deceased loved one. Make a donation to a worthy cues, work at a soup kitchen, buy flowers for the church, and do it in memory of your loved one.
If you fee! up to it, make meaningful Christmas gifts. Giving scrapbooks, or a compilation of stories about the deceased, valued belongings of the deceased which, when presented with "I know they would want you to have this," will make the holiday so much more memorable.
Don't be afraid to make your loved one part of the holidays. Christmas ornaments they loved, perhaps an ornament with their picture (COPS has a great ornament through www.COPSstore.com), a special memorial candle-anything that your family is comfortable with is acceptable. Talk about holidays past, happy shared moments that happened. etc. And remember, if other people don't, think your deceased loved one's inclusion is
appropriate, that's their problem -not yours.
Consider prayer. Many aren't able to handle what has occurred in their lives without prayer. Visit your place of worship more often during the holiday season
Laugh. Give yourself permission to laugh. Sometimes grieving people forget that laughter is a great stress reliever and healer.
Party if you want to. Don't party if you don't feel up to it.
Honesty is the best policy. If it isn't a good day, admit it. But you don't have to apologize for it.
Don't overdo. If you want to make a fancy meal, make it. If you aren't up to a big meal, cook a small meal, or eat out!
Alcohol is a depressant. Limit your consumption of alcohol during the holidays.
Strengthen your ties with other family members. If you've had family problems, make amends. What a wonderful gift an honest attempt to make amends can be.
While all these suggestions may be right for some people. they may not be right for you. Nobody knows what you want to do for the holidays better than YOU! Just remember that everyone is different and these
suggestions, though well meaning, may not work for you.
The most important thing is to be kind and compassionate to yourself.
Please feel free to share with us some of your suggestions for coping with the holidays...