Last week I talked about the importance of celebrating anniversaries and this week I want to shift the focus on how to get through difficult anniversaries or dates. Whether that be the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, loss of a job, or tragic event, anniversaries of upsetting events can take a huge toll. The anticipation of the day can often be the worst part as we spend days, or sometimes weeks, dreading the day to come. It will come and go as any other day and might bring a sense of relief that now we can stop worrying about it. Here are some things that might be helpful, no matter what the painful event is.
1) Surround yourself with good people. Maybe this means gathering all the family together to remember a loved one, or a quiet night with a trusted pal. Either way, think about having your supports with you that day.
2) Think about how far you’ve come. Whether it is an anniversary or special date like Mother’s Day, take some time to reflect on how you have gotten through the tough times and are moving forward. It can be a day to remember your own strengths and celebrate how resilient you are.
3) Plan something special. For the anniversary of a loved one’s death, this might mean doing something in their honor like releasing balloons or doing their favourite activity. For the end of a relationship or tragic event, that might mean planning a party to celebrate second chances or new beginnings.
4) Amp up your self-care. As noted, often the anticipation of the anniversary is worse than the date itself. Take care of yourself leading up to the date by ensuring you are getting enough sleep, eating a well-balanced diet, getting some exercise and doing activities or hobbies that make you feel good.
5) If you need to cry, cry. Whether it’s been a year or 10 years since you’ve gone through this tough time, an anniversary can open up a lot of memories with various emotions. Let yourself feel and express that emotion through healthy outlets, including tears. Don’t get caught up in the length of time, just focus on listening to yourself and what you need.