Dec. 28, 2020 - The holiday season has looked different this year as Coloradans have stayed home to protect their loved ones during this pandemic. While the holidays are often a time when we notice more difficult changes like loss and loneliness, this year we may feel even more isolated than we typically feel.
Some families are experiencing their first holiday season since losing a loved one. This season may bring a new wave of grief as holiday traditions, events, rituals, people, and places may be a reminder of their loss. It’s important to give yourself permission to grieve. There is no right or wrong way to grieve and no timeline for these feelings. A great gift we can give each other is to listen and hold space for one another so we don’t face our losses alone.
If you have lost someone, consider doing an activity that remembers them in your holidays. Light a candle, listen to music, or do another seasonal activity that your loved one would enjoy. Above all, stay connected. Being apart physically doesn’t mean we need to be disconnected from each other. Not only are there many people and resources to support us on hard days, there are also skills we can learn to care for our own mental health. The resources available to all Coloradans include:
- Colorado Crisis Services: Call 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255 for free, confidential and immediate support from a trained professional. Support is available in Spanish too.
- The Colorado Spirit Crisis Counseling Program (CCP) is designed to support people who have been impacted by COVID-19.
- CCP teams of trained crisis counselors offer free and anonymous services around the. state. CCP crisis counselors are members of the community too, so they know the challenges people are facing.
- The crisis counselors support individuals, families, and groups to understand and reduce stress, develop coping strategies, and connect with other community resources and relief services. Their support is also available in non-English languages.
- Whether you or a family member tested positive for COVID-19, you lost your job, or your holidays are just feeling harder, this program is here to support everyone’s experiences during the pandemic.
- Visit covid19.colorado.gov/crisis-counseling-program to find CCP support near you and help to share with others.
- Colorado LADDERS is a database from Colorado’s Office of Behavioral Health to help people find substance use treatment and mental health providers near them in Colorado. Visit colorado.gov/ladders.
- The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is home to the National Institute of Human Resilience. They have a GRIT Resiliency course that you can take for free at your own pace. Learning and practicing the GRIT resiliency skills can help each of us support one another’s mental health and resiliency in everyday interactions. Visit grit.uccs.edu to take the training and help grow resiliency skills in your community.
This holiday season is different, and it may be especially hard for some of us. Let’s use this as a reason to be kind to each other and be intentional about caring for our mental health. Despite this year’s challenges, remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s move with care, vigilance, and grace -- it is up to us to get through this pandemic. Here’s to a new beginning!