LABOR DAY IS SEPTEMBER 7. Advice From A Grief Counselor: Take a Holiday From The Labor of Grief
By Jill S. Cohen, NYC family grief counselor
Labor means work. In fact, it usually means “hard work.” Grief work is hard labor too. Don’t underestimate the kind of work that a grieving person does every day, though it may often be done silently, discreetly, and is often invisible to others.
In our country, a good portion of the workforce, with the exception of some industries such as retail, transportation, and hospitality, is not expected to work on Labor Day.
In my grief counseling practice, I often recommend to my clients that they attempt to take a holiday off from the labor of grieving on Labor Day. I know it sounds impossible, and it might be… but it’s worth a try.
It could really be liberating to make a conscious effort to say, “Today, I will not really work at this grief. I’ll try to give myself a time-out from the tough work involved in dealing with my feelings, and thoughts and ruminations and images in my head.”
Labor Day is a holiday, after all. There’s no guilt to be had in giving grief a holiday off from its work hours. Wouldn’t it be such a relief to give grief its one day off?
So, try to relax, breathe, watch a movie, read a fun, easy book, go out with friends (with social distancing in place)…or something, anything…other than grief. That would be the best holiday you could give yourself this Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 7).
Because GRIEF will come right back and visit on Tuesday the 8th and you can go right back to working it.
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR LABOR DAY 2020: This is a different Labor Day holiday than any we’ve had before. We are in the midst of a pandemic.
Grief is harder now, more pronounced, more pervasive, and heavier than in previous times. We are grieving secondary losses – loss of routines, employment, social life, entertainment, physical contact, vacations, traditions, community.. and much much more. So, if this Labor Day feels a bit harder on the grief, let it be. Try to see what happens if you just let Labor Day happen...any way it wants to.
Just try to give yourself and your grief a really big break. You deserve it.
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