Getting Through the Holidays Without Your Loved Ones

I know  how hard it is for people to be without loved ones during this time of year.  A few days ago I had the honor of having Ron Villano, a clinical psychotherapist, life & bereavement coach (and a professional resource on the website under Happiness Professionals) join me in a podcast with the goal to help people get through the holidays if their loved ones were not with them.  That goes for whether your loved one lives far away, is in the military, or has passed away.

I figured I’d summarize some of the things we spoke about for those who  may not have had the ability to listen.  And, if you do want to listen, just click here:  Ron’s Podcast — it was recorded (it’s only 30  minutes).

So. . . Ron had many great things to say.  He has a quote, “When you choose to change your thoughts, you begin to change your life.”  That is something to really think about.  It truly is up to us to move forward — something that could be applied to all aspects of our life, right?

Ron’s son, Michael, lost his life in a car accident when he was 17 years old.  Ron had much pain after the loss of his son.  He noted that it takes time to heal and that you need to give yourself the time you need.  But, after many years, he realized that his son gave him life.  He lives by the mantra to honor your loved one’s life by living yours.

Some things we had discussed:

  1. Acknowledge your feelings.  Just because it is holiday, you don’t have to force yourself to be happy.
  2. Reach out.  If you feel lonely or isolated reach out.  There are volunteer opportunities or clubs or organizations where you can meet like-minded people.
  3. Budget — Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.  Ron wrote an article  posted on his TimetoPlay page titled, Ho.. Ho… Oh no! December Spending. January Lending.  How to Keep your Holiday Buying in Control, which may prove helpful to some.
  4. Seek professional help if you need it.  Ron noted that a licensed psychotherapist can provide support without passing judgement.  They really can help people sort things out.
  5. Decorating/Traditions:  Ron said he didn’t decorate for Christmas for 9 years following the passing of his son.  Again, people have different ways of healing and their need for time should be respected.  An article I read on, “Finding Holiday Joy Amid the Grief”, noted that people might find different ways of celebrating and making new traditions, that, maybe, doing what you always had done just doesn’t feel right.
  6. Honor Your Loved One:  Some suggestions in the WebMD article were that people could honor their loved ones by lighting a special candle or focusing on the richness of a life well-lived.  Their comments were that, when you share stories about the person, you’re filling your heart with that person.  Ron spoke about the party he now has where he and his family and friends celebrate his Michael’s life.   He said it is amazing what a difference that has made.
  7. Don’t abandon healthy habits – stay healthy:  Ron noted that it is very important to take care of yourself.  Eating healthy and exercise should be a part of that.

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For over a year I’ve been working on, a HUGE project.  Since the end of September, it’s finally moving forward.  I thank the wonderful, amazing professionals I have “suckered in” to my project who are sharing their knowledge through their articles on the timetoplay site and volunteering to join me in the podcasts we started only 6 short weeks ago.  No one is paid for their participation (me either!).

As part of my midlife crisis , I have developed the philosophy — you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life.  I feel many of us get wrapped up in working or things that get in the way, and these professionals can help us make our lives better.

It’s time for us to enjoy life.  Let me know what you need.  I look forward to hearing from you.



Authored by: Doreen Guma

Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC 

Doreen holds a Bachelor of Science in Management, a Masters in Business and Policy Studies, is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (a board certified healthcare executive), a Certified Professional Coach and a Certified Life Coach.

Doreen is the founder of Time to Play, a place to find resources for a better life.  She came up with the Time to Play Philosophy that you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work / life balance to have quality of life, and believes everyone has the right and the ability to enjoy life.

Doreen has worked in healthcare since 1987, 14 years in a hospital and since 2001 in skilled nursing facilities.  She has held positions in administration, as the Director of Quality Improvement, Risk Manager and Director of Medical Records.

In 2005 she and her husband opened D. James Marketing, a healthcare specific consulting firm which assists healthcare organizations with new program generation, quality improvement, staff and client satisfaction, event coordination, coordinating educational symposiums and more to help spread the message about the healthcare servics they provide. The primary goal of D. James Marketing is to educate the community about resources that are available so people may know where to seek help in the event of a health need or a health crisis with a focus on proactive prevention. 

Contact: 631-331-2675 


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