CUB wants to offer a Holiday Survival Guide for everyone within the adoption constellation – and beyond!
- Be heard. Call a trusted friend or family member and ask for an empathy session. This is a safe space where you can talk about the feelings that come up for you especially during the holidays. Ask to be heard, and maybe to receive some empathy or reflection, but be clear that you don’t want advice, or sympathy, and you’re not asking to be “fixed.” If that person is not available in your life right now, consider giving yourself empathy. https://www.befriendingourselves.com/Self-empathy.html
- Talk to a therapist. It can be challenging to find a therapist who understands about adoption. If yours doesn’t, educate her! https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freudian-sip/201102/how-find-the-best-therapist-you
- Get outdoors. If you are able, take a walk around the block. Better yet, find a friend to walk with. Focus on breathing, on how it feels when your feet hit the ground, on how the weather feels to your skin. Listen for bird calls. Take deep breaths. Get in touch with your body and how it responds to this exercise. Look at the sky. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/5-surprising-benefits-of-walking
- Try mindfulness meditation. The fall holidays are all about “busyness,” whether it’s shopping, buying and wrapping gifts, going to parties, preparing special foods, entertaining, traveling, etc. The exhaustion of all this “busyness” can make us more vulnerable to negative thoughts and feelings. One way to slow down is to be still. Even setting a timer for 3 minutes and taking that time to sit in a chair and focus on the breath can have amazing results. https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/how-to-meditate
- Even though you may feel alone, you are not. The fact that you are visiting the CUB website means that you have reached out to others whose grief stems from a source similar to yours. You may want to check out the support groups on this website, including the CUB online support group, or you might want to look in your area for a local group.
- Do something thoughtful for someone else, and for yourself. One way to step aside from the constant reminder of loss is to find another person who needs help. Become a volunteer, even if you’re so down you can barely think. Take someone who’s shut in out to lunch. Join a caroling group. Walk a dog at the local shelter. If possible, allow yourself to have a massage, and to enjoy the healing power of the human touch.
- This too shall pass. The holidays will be over, and you will survive. Next year could be different, or even better. You might start a survival plan for next year as part of a New Year’s Resolution! If you have read this far, it means you’ve already begun.