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New Year’s Resolutions

Jan 3, 2024

Debbie Vallandingham, LMSW-ACSW, Director of Grief Care Services

Even as you face loss, the world keeps turning and time keeps ticking. In the winter is often when it seems most noticeable: people plan holiday parties, they drive to spend time with their families, and they gather with friends to toast in the New Year. As we get past the holidays and begin 2024, it’s important to note that a new year carries special symbolism as many raise a glass to toast the end of the old and the beginning of something new and exciting. At the same time, the year end is often a time of reflection and remembering those we have lost throughout the year.

As a part of these celebrations and reflections, many people take the time to make resolutions. History shows us that we have been celebrating the arrival of the new year for as long as 4,000 years beginning with the ancient Babylonians. The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions is also an old one which began during the reign of Julius Caesar. Although we no longer decorate our homes with laurel branches or celebrate like the Romans, we have made resolutions a big part of our festivities. As we move along our grief journeys, making resolutions is a tradition we can embrace, even if we have fears on what the New Year may bring.

Some resolutions worth considering are:
• Start a journal. A journal is a great place to reflect on your feelings. Keeping in mind the turning of the year, try to pay attention to hope and desire. Think about what makes you hopeful and what you would like to see for the coming year.

• Acknowledge your feelings. You are moving through your grief one step at a time. Seek to find the courage to understand and accept what you are feeling on your individual journey. Join a support group to talk about those feelings.

• Learn about grief. Grief is a challenging subject and no two people grieve the same. Take the time in the next year to learn more about the process of grieving. Find a book at your local library. Attend workshops on grief and loss. Search for grief-related blogs on the internet.

• Brush off the hurtful comments of well-intentioned people. As you grieve, you will likely interact with people who truly care about you but are awkward in their comments or are new to dealing with loss. Resolve to forgive those who are themselves uncomfortable with grief and are unsure of how to respond.

• Give back by volunteering. There is a power in grievers helping others. Whether it’s helping others who are experiencing grief or giving back to your local animal shelter, being in a position to offer the gift of your time and support can make a difference to many people, including you.

• Create a memory book, memory box, or memory board. Whether it’s putting together photographs in an album, crafting and collecting items for a box, or uploading images to Pinterest, the act of posting things about your loved one (food, travel, music, etc.) is a healthy resolution for the New Year.

OUR FREE GRIEF CARE PROGRAMS: While feelings of grief are normal, handling them can be difficult and painful. Talking about what you are going through can help. Call 734.779.6690 to schedule an appointment. Or visit our grief support calendar here.

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