Navigating the holidays

December is upon us, with the twinkling lights, the rush of shopping and the holiday gatherings. This time of year reaches backwards and forwards: we remember holidays past with loved ones even as we consider what comes next. For those of us caring for another or grieving their absence, this season can bring a tide of emotions.

Here are some suggestions for easing the path:

  • Slow It Down. As much as is within your power, say no to things that create unnecessary pressure. Walking through this season of life is difficult enough without being forced to pile on the merriment.
  • Take Cues From Nature. Just as the human world ramps up with festivities, nature grows quiet. The shorter days and longer nights invite us to rest more and take time to reflect. All this can be restorative.
  • Choose Your Traditions. Trust your instincts as you consider how you want to celebrate. You might simplify things this year. At the same time, keep a few meaningful traditions to help you connect with your roots — steadying you in the present moment and strengthening you for all that is to come.

As we head into the holidays, know that you are not alone. Whether you are a caregiver or are experiencing fresh grief, Optage Hospice offers opportunities for education and support via Zoom.

Grief support groups

Grief Support: Navigating the Holidays
December 14, 7 – 8 p.m.
As the holidays approach we’ll discuss strategies for simplifying while also honoring your loved one.

Grief Explorations (six weeks)
Thursdays, 1 – 2 p.m., January 19 – February 23
We’ll explore the impact of grief on the mind, body and spirit and what you can do to help ease the process.


Optage Hospice Chaplain Jenny Schroedel facilitates grief groups across PHS sites and in the larger community. Jenny is also an author, most recently of Naming The Child: Hope-filled Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Death.

If you are interested in joining a group, contact Optage Hospice or call 651-746-8200. Optage is the home and community services division of Presbyterian Homes & Services.



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