• Heather Hildenbrand

10 things to help ease holiday grief

It's the most CHAOTIC time of the year.

Wait.

I think it's supposed to be "wonderful." Yes, wonderful time of the year.

That's right. Of course. How could I get the two mixed up?

OH YEAH BECAUSE SHIT IS BANANAS RIGHT NOW.

Anyone else feeling buried up to their tits in Christmas cheer and tinsel?


Maybe it's just me.


Christmas is usually hard for me. There's a lot of sadness surrounding this holiday. The truth is, I lost my son 8 years ago on Dec 20 so even though I am happy and grateful for the family surrounding me, I get very melancholy for the holidays. It's a bit of a roller coaster and while this year, I'm feeling much better than years past, it's still emotional.


Over the years, I've talked to enough others to know I'm not alone in the holiday blues. Everyone has their reasons. Loss. Loneliness. Estrangement. Financial stress.


So, I thought I'd give you a list of things I've found to be helpful this time of year. From one Scrooge to another:


1. Don't fight it. This is the most important one and I'm going to be serious for a second to drive the point home. Anytime I pretended to be okay or tried to ignore my sadness, it only made it worse. Feel how you feel. And at the risk of sounding way too hippie: "Feel through it." It gets better faster with this method, trust me.




2. Give yourself a break. Literally.

I am not much of a TV watcher but this time of year, that's all I want. I think it's a way to check out and I'm letting it happen. I'm being easy on myself and asking myself every day what will make me feel better today. I set minimum goals (which are lower than the rest of the year) and when I hit them, I reward myself with an hour on the couch.


3. Spend time alone.

I don't know about you but as a wife and mom, the only time I get to really do what I want is when I'm alone. So make that happen and stop doing all the things for all the people.




4. Spend time with people.

This is especially important if you're already alone for the holidays. No, you will not feel like being with people. Do it anyway.


5. Drink.

NOT alcohol--not if you're truly depressed. It makes it worse. Drink hot tea with chamomile and maybe even cat's claw or some other relaxant. Want to know what else acts as a muscle relaxer in tea? Email me. I'm happy to share all my hippie tricks.


6. Sing.

This is more hippy advice but it works. When we sing, or chant, or do anything that vibrates our chest, it "clears" your chakra. You don't even have to know what that means for it to work. Try it. Sing in your car for 10 minutes or make an "uhhhh" chant sound for as long as your breath lasts (for 10 min repeat). You'll literally feel "clear" or lighter. It's so weird but it works.





7. Dance

Moving our bodies improves mood. The thing is, when we're sad, we don't WANT to move. But do it anyway. Go for a walk. Dance around your kitchen. You can even angry-dance if you want. I do it all the time. Just for 1 song length. Tell me you don't feel different/better after.


8. Cry

This one is SO DAMN HARD for me. I hate throwing up and I hate crying. It makes my body feel terrible so I avoid it at all costs. I have even been known to schedule it so that it doesn't disrupt my day. I'm a crazy person. But crying ALWAYS helps me feel better emotionally. It's a release that our body needs--medically. So if you're not a crier, try it. Cut onions or something. Do what you have to do.


9. Join a support group.

This sounds like something your alcohol uncle would say BUT it's true. When we are sad, all we want is for someone to see us. Hell, that's all we want when we're happy too. Just sitting with someone who can say, "I see you. I hear you. I empathize with you" is so powerful. And if you're not already in a community like this, there are online groups every 3 feet. Actually, I have one!


The Bad Witches Coven is a Facebook group a fellow author and I created for the purpose of reminding us we all have magic inside us! The group is a safe space to talk about whatever you're struggling with. Join us. Or join something that speaks to you.





10. Read

When I read, especially when I'm sad, it truly is an escape. Better than TV. Better than drugs. When I read Twilight (yes, Twilight) I connected hard because I projected my pain onto Bella's pain and was able to use the book to work through the hard thing I had on my plate. It made it more manageable to experience it. Gave me more control. If you've ever read a book while sad, you know what I mean. If you haven't, try it! There's power there.


I truly hope something on this list helps someone. Maybe it's not the list but the fact that I can sit with you and remind you that you're not alone. You're not.


P.S. If you know someone struggling this time of year, feel free to forward this post to them. Or send them the link to the FB group (that group is not just about my books though it will include that too) or just tell them you love them and it's okay for them to feel how they feel.


Merry Christmas.

All the love,

Heather



P.S. I have a new release!


If you want a warm and glowy holiday read that will give you all the warm fuzzies, check out The Winter Witch, a holiday novella I co-wrote with the amazing USA TODAY BESTSELLER Karpov Kinrade!




In the remote village of Willowdale there lives a people haunted by an ancient curse. Once a prosperous and lush land, for thousands of years the kingdom has suffered under perpetual winter. Crops refuse to grow, poverty and hunger spread. People die.

Their only chance of survival depends on trade. But the one road between the lands passes through the treacherous Ice Mountains, where the cursed and banished prince lives. The prince who holds his kingdom in an icy grip.

To keep the trade path open, the prince demands a sacrifice. Once a year, a villager is chosen and must trek to the peak of the Ice Mountains to offer their life in exchange for safe passage between lands.

This year, I'm the sacrifice.

There's one big difference, however. I'm not an ordinary villager being sent to die. I'm a powerful winter witch, the first born to our village in over a thousand years, and I've been sent to kill.

But when the banished prince saves me from imminent death, everything changes. He's not the monster I believed him to be, and his tenderness and keen intelligence grips my heart and makes me question everything I once thought true.

Now I must decide the impossible. Do I kill him to save my kingdom? Or let what is growing between us save us both, thus damning everyone I love in the process?

***

The Winter Witch is a standalone Christmas/Holiday love story that blends fairytale elements of Beauty and the Beast and the Bulgarian fable The Little Girl and the Winter Whirlwinds with a paranormal romance / fantasy romance twist. We hope you enjoy this holiday novella that is the perfect treat to sit down with on a cold night and read in front of a fire while sipping hot cocoa or a good cup of tea.


Get it for Kindle!

© 2019 by Heather Hildenbrand