The cliché rings true; life is an emotional rollercoaster. We all have good and bad days, yet sometimes there are days you just don’t want to face. Perhaps it’s an anniversary of loved one’s death or the anniversary of a relationship that ended. Maybe it’s Christmas and you wish you were spending it with someone else or just having someone to share the day with.

When you’re dreading the thought of an upcoming holiday, event or anniversary, try these four tips to make the day a little more bearable.

Plan ahead

Think about the people and activities that are guaranteed to make you feel better. Perhaps you can catch up with an old friend or plan to take your favourite yoga class on that day. If possible, combine the activity you love with a person who can be understanding and supportive on the day. It’s ok to do something fun on a day that might otherwise make you feel sad.

It’s perfectly reasonable to decline activities that you know won’t make you feel good or be able to distract you from your grief. It might mean cancelling plans you would enjoy at another time, and that’s absolutely fine too.

Acknowledge your grief

It’s okay to feel sad and alone on days that hold painful memories and meaning. It can be helpful to let yourself feel that grief, alone, in a safe environment. 

Spend some time thinking about the reason (or reasons) you’re grieving and how you’re feeling. Write down your thoughts and feelings. It’s ok if this makes you cry. Once you have taken a few minutes or perhaps a few hours to acknowledge your grief, remind yourself about three things that bring a smile to your face. A friend, a joke you heard, a video of a cute animal, a positive memory – whatever brings you a sense of joy. This can help to remember that life can also bring you happiness.A baby plays opposite a teddy bear

Practise mindfulness techniques

Mindfulness can be an effective way to cope when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Close your eyes and focus on slowing down your breathing. Take deep breaths, in and out, for 60 seconds. 

Think about five things that connect you to the moment right now: the date, the location you’re in, something you can see from where you are, the last meal you ate, the next activity you will do. It’s a mindfulness technique called grounding which can be very helpful to calm you in moments of anxiety or grief.

Reach out to someone you trust

If you’re feeling lonely or isolated, talk to someone who makes you feel supported and safe. Call them to make plans for the day that is already worrying you. Before the day, talk to them about why you dread that event or time of year.

If you’re not comfortable speaking about your grief, it might be helpful to connect with people online to share your thoughts and feelings anonymously, from the comfort of your home. The Beyond Blue online forums and other online support services are great options.  

While this day is one that makes you sad, using these tips can help you to get through the day.

Related reading: Five things to do in nature to lift your mood

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