What to Do When we Feel the Downside of the Holidays

Learn an exercise to help address feelings of loneliness and grief that may arise during the holiday season.

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

The holiday season is filled with joy and celebration, but it can also be filled with loneliness and grief. For many people, the holidays trigger feelings of loneliness, especially when we have lost loved ones or spend these days alone. One antidote to loneliness is to name it. This is one of the main principles of mindfulness: allowing ourselves to feel pain instead of fighting against it. When we allow ourselves to do this, we engage in the healing process. Read below to learn about an exercise I do often as I have lost many loved ones in my life. It can be used to help us sit with grief during the holidays.

Grief Point Exercise

We carry so much grief within; ancestral, intergenerational, personal losses and pain. Grief makes our heart ache, and we want to ignore, suppress and just not feel. In this simple exercise we touch the center of grief in our heart.

Along the sternum over the heart is one point that is more sensitive than the others. Find that point, gently touch it, and allow yourself to feel and release the pain.

  • Now come down 4 finger widths further from the thymus point (this is 6 finger widths from the collar bone/clavicle soft spot).
  • Use your middle finger to feel for areas of tension on the breastbone; This is the grief point.
  • Apply gentle pressure to the grief point, close your eyes, and breathe.
  • Allow yourself to feel the losses that you’ve had, not to fight or resist them.
  • Enter into the heart, where grief is held. You may feel a softening or lightening of pain or tension.
  • No judgement, no seeking, no yearning, just paying attention and allowing.
  • Do this for 1 minute.
  • Take your hand away and give yourself a moment, then open your eyes.

If you are up for it, take time to reflect on any emotions and sensations that arise after the grief point exercise. There are countless reflection tools, and every person will have their own preference. Some ideas for reflection include:

  • Writing. This can be in the form of journaling, quick bullet points, poetry, prose, or any other form that helps you express your feelings in a space where they can be revisited and reflected upon later.
  • Talking out loud. Record yourself speaking your thoughts and feelings aloud, or engage in a conversation with a loved one, whether in person or virtually.
  • Drawing. Sketch out an image that is left in your mind. This could be a symbol, a place, or something more abstract.
  • Dance/Move: Express feelings by moving more deeply into your body and dance or move as an expression of your deepest self.
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