Episode 35: Simplify the holidays & magnify what matters most
You are listening to the Life Reconstructed podcast with me, Teresa Amaral Beshwate, grief expert, best-selling author and widow. I’m so glad you’re here because in this and every episode, I shine a light on the widowed way forward.
Hello and welcome to episode 35. In this episode, I suggest ways to simplify your holiday season: to do less, spend less, stress less, and rest more.
If you’re listening to this episode at the time it’s released, then Thanksgiving is in the rear-view mirror and the December holidays are fast approaching. In this episode, I want to offer practical tips to simplify your holiday season.
Given your profound loss, it may be tempting to keep all other things the same. To honor each and every tradition. To decorate as you’ve always done. To host the gathering as you always do. If that feels right to you this year, by all means, do it.
On the other hand, if your energy is low, if the thought of decorating is exhausting, and if you feel resentful that it all falls on you, it could be time to reconsider. To simplify.
Because simplifying the holidays means magnifying what matters most.
Often, we don’t have a goal for the holiday season. Instead, we just go through the motions. We overcommit, overspend, have unrealistic expectations and the holidays end up being hectic and stressful.
This year, think about a goal for the holiday season. Maybe it’s your faith, gratitude, cherishing moments with family, honoring your late spouse. There is no right or wrong, only what you decide to focus on this year.
With a goal in mind, you can then simplify. You can remove everything that doesn’t relate to your goal.
Notice what feels like a must-do or a have-to. Maybe this year you decide to only do what you want to do.
This could mean simplifying gift giving. Maybe you decide to draw names or donate to a person’s favorite charity. Donate in honor of your spouse. Maybe you get yourself a gift for a change.
You don’t have to decorate at all, or you can put out minimal decorations this year.
You don’t have to prepare the entire meal, or that signature dessert that you make each year.
You don’t have to accept every invitation.
You don’t have to host the gathering.
You don’t have to listen to holiday music.
You don’t have to carry on traditions.
At least not this year.
You’re only deciding for this year, not every year to come.
You do need to take good care of you, no matter how long you’ve been on this journey.
You may need to say “no.”
You may need to say, “I’ve given it thought, and this is what’s right for me this year.”
You may need to say, “I don’t expect you to understand what this is like for me.”
The holidays are tough in life after loss. Consider what your soul needs most. And get plenty of that. Unapologetically.
Remember that grieving is learning. Allow yourself to try new things this year and see how it goes. Allow yourself to do less, spend less, stress less, and rest more.
Notice when your thoughts turn to self-judgment. Be kind instead. You’re learning how to live this life that you didn’t sign up for. Give yourself the chance to learn.
Keep your goal in mind and say no to anything that isn’t that.
And join me: I’m offering a free webinar on Tuesday, December 5th. I’ll offer more tips to help you simplify your holidays and magnify what matters most. Sign up by clicking the link in the show notes.
And remember that I believe in you and I’m here for you.
If you’ve found this podcast helpful, I invite you to join Life Reconstructed, my coaching program exclusively for widowed people. It will help you step forward toward a life you will love again. Simply go to thesuddenwidowcoach.com and click work with me.