Figuring out how to deal with grief can be tremendously difficult. Sometimes the littlest things can trigger a memory and an unexpected wave of emotions can send us into a tailspin. Summer is no exception.
Here in New Haven, Connecticut, many of us are absolutely chomping at the bit to get out of our indoor cocoons and get our butts in the sunshine and fresh air. As we head into summer, many of us are already getting our backyards and patios ready for BBQs, birthdays, and bonfires.
Summer is a time for relaxing and having fun with friends and family outdoors. But for some, the summer get-togethers can be extremely hard to handle when you’re dealing with grief. Many people aren’t sure how to handle the dichotomy of wanting to have fun around those they love, while still feeling the sadness for their loss.
Tips For How To Deal With Grief in The Summer
Feel your pain
If you want to learn how to deal with you grief, you have to recognize that grieving is an important part of healing. Shoving your feelings away will only prolong your grief. Your instincts may be to simply avoid any summer social activities in an effort to not feel your pain or possibly the guilt of having a good time. But may want to rethink your decision.
The most important part of the grieving process is to actually allow yourself to feel your feelings. Sometimes you can’t control when unpleasant feelings show up, but you can control how you react to them. When you’re in the company of friends and family it can be helpful to manage the wave of emotions with supportive and caring people near you.
Choose Each Event wisely
While you shouldn’t completely avoid being social with your loved ones, you don’t necessarily have to attend every summer fiesta. Choose the events you think you can handle and say “no“ to the ones you think will be more difficult for you to handle. Depending on your normal social appetite, it might be helpful to commit to one per weekend or one per month in advance and then choose as your options present themselves.
If there are annual events or parties that you normally don’t enjoy or even dread, then skip them for sure. Cancel or RSVP early and ahead of time to simply remove it from your mind so you can focus on yourself and what you’d rather do instead.
Have an escape plan
I don’t know about you, I always like to have an escape plan when I’m at a social event. When you’re trying to figure out how to deal with grief, this is no exception. Be sure to drive yourself so you can leave when you want or need to. If you have to get a ride, try to hitch with someone you know will likely take you home when you need or want to go. Having the Uber or Lyft app on your phone and ready to go is another option.
Do Something to Honor the Memory
Find new ways to keep the memory of your loss alive during the summertime. Take advantage of the season and plant a shrub or tree in their honor. You could make their favorite dish or baked item to bring to a barbecue. You could also light and release sky lanterns. Creating unique and special ways to memorialize a loved one will help keep their memory with you as your grieve.
Coping with grief sucks. The reality is it doesn’t matter what time of year it is, but being outdoors for many people can help bring us closer to our spirituality and with those we’ve lost. Taking advantage of the weather and social festivities can be a great way to nurture your soul and ease the pain.
If you’re struggling to figure out how to deal with grief and can’t seem to get off the roller coaster of emotions, find an awesome grief therapist you like and trust to help guide you back.
James Killian, LPC is the Principal Therapist & Owner of Arcadian Counseling in New Haven, CT where they specialize in helping over-thinkers, high achievers, and perfectionists reduce stress, increase fulfillment and enhance performance so they can move From Surviving To Thriving.