Healing Activities for the New Year During Loss or Transition

The new year is approaching, and it is a complicated time - especially for people who are grieving or amidst a lot of unknown, loss, and transition. Losing someone you love can be a complicated and painful experience, especially during the winter. In addition, any kind of change can feel like a loss, and that's often what makes growth feel so hard.

And then, we have the holidays, which can be extra complicated. The days are short, it's cold and dark, and there is an expectation of "holiday cheer" which can feel... well, shitty.

If you're going through loss during the holidays, it's extra important to bundle up your resources and pull them close. Whether it's your dog, your mother, your best friend, or Netflix – use what you have right now to help you get through. And if you are feeling suicidal, please reach out. Your people are here waiting for you. If you can't reach someone you love, because they're preoccupied or sad also, please call the suicide hotline and just talk it through. 1-800-273-8255, 24/7, there will be someone there for you.

Here are some resources that could be helpful for you or someone you love:

Create a vision board. Cut up pictures (and even found objects) and glue them to cardboard or posterboard. You can set an intention before you do it, or you can make it a free-association exercise. Put on a movie or a record and make a cup of tea and cut-and-paste.

HELLO, CRUEL WORLD: 101 ALTERNATIVES TO SUICIDE FOR TEENS, FREAKS, AND OTHER OUTLAWS by Kate Bornstein is chock-full of ways to express emotions, including anger and sadness, in ways that are not fatal to you or other people.

THE ART OF RITUAL, written by local Oakland therapist Renee Beck, offers lots of guidance around how to create personalized rituals.

My SETTING INTENTIONS VIDEO from December 2014 offers questions to ask yourself at the turn of the new year.

64 NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS FOR GRIEVERS is a lengthy (and possibly overwhelming) list of potential new year's resolutions for people who are grieving. While the idea of "letting go" is easier said than done, perhaps this list will give you something to focus your thoughts on.

And finally, Vanissar Tarakali has written a comprehensive list of what to do for EMOTIONAL FIRST AID. If you're spending time in situations and dynamics that feel toxic or difficult this winter, check out this blog post.