Nov 19, 2019
20+ Ways to Practically Manage Change & Loss Throughout The
Jill Johnson-Young, LCSW
Loss & change encompasses jobs, education, career, moving,
illness, disability, relationships, pets, birth, adoption, coming
out, learning you didn’t have an ideal childhood and the obvious,
death. Jill provides concrete examples of how we can set
boundaries, create new traditions, and so much more! Jill talks
about the importance of keeping memories alive, and ways we can
honor those we’ve lost (included our 4-legged family members), and
she gives examples of how to help a partner talk about their
- During times of grief, stress, loss, change, etc. it is very
likely that we will become MORE sensitive, and possibly reactive,
and we may have a harder time managing. This is very normal, and it
is to be expected.
- We need to have even more gentleness and self-compassion during
- Grief includes, losses, disenfranchised losses, hopes, dreams,
change—it is so much more than just death
How to manage those losses:
- awareness of them at the holidays, and finally
- wrap up with death related loss
WHAT OTHER LOSSES ARE THERE AT THE
THESE WERE MENTIONED:
- ‘I think that the holidays bring out a lot of grief for
- SUBSTANCE ABUSE AT THE TABLE OR THE TREE
- The drunk relative that nobody wants to be around,
- The opioid epidemic
- Folks drinking to cope with anxiety of functions or the stress
- FAMILY ISSUES THAT SHOW UP RATHER THAN
HALLMARK: when we feel more like we belong in the land of
the lost toys, not by a fireplace waiting for Santa with our dog
- A dysfunctional family
- Grief when your family isn’t large like everybody
- Grief because you’ve chosen not to be a part of your immediate
family because of the toxicity in it
- Grieving the family you THOUGHT you had...
- and about how to connect with them despite awareness of
emotional neglect due to your high sensitivity.
- Feeling concerned with the upcoming holidays with the new
awareness of how your family relates emotionally... it all suddenly
feels so superficial.
FINANCIAL STRESS AMPLIFIED BY THE HOLIDAYS
- Grief because you don’t have enough money for presents
- Grief because you don’t have enough food,
- Those issues can cause some of us to avoid holiday get
togethers because we can’t afford them
- that might include employee events
- Those that have experienced recent breakups, and this is their
first thanksgiving or Holiday without their partner.
- Lost friendships
- Disability especially recently
- Partner who is disabled or have cognitive issues
ONE THING I DO FOR GRIEVERS PRIOR TO THE HOLIDAYS IS
PREPARE THEM FOR THE IMPACT:
- EXPECTATIONS- FALSE OR REAL OR SELF IMPOSED, INCLUDING NEEDING
TO RECREATE WHAT WAS BEFORE A LOSS
- grief when everybody else posts the holiday party pictures, or
you are looking at old social media posts- when things were
- Shopping, advertising, holiday mailers - the temptation to
overspend to make up for what is missing
- The belief that if you focus on the holidays and what it should
provide, you will have some type of relief, but most of the time it
- The belief that others don’t experience grief and you feel
- EXPECTATIONS THAT YOU WILL FEEL HAPPY OR
- You might at times, but if you have had a recent loss or have
an unresolved loss it will travel with you to holiday events
- The mix of joy and sadness is normal, but hard to manage unless
you are ready for it, and you can balance your energy, and give
yourself permission to not participate or to limit time spent
- Practicing using the positive to create balance- plans for the
year coming, remembering the good moments of past holidays or this
- If you can hold the opposite of both emotions it affects
how your brain reacts to it so a lot of times when we feel sad as a
family then we try to balance it out by looking at what’s great or
what we’re happy for… We find that helpful during the
- For HSP folks, one person suggested that being able to feel
grief and joy at the same time neutralizes some of the wounding
that has happened in the past.
DEATH RELATED LOSS AND HOLIDAYS
- Fear of death infringing on happy moments because we are aware
of the potential of someone dying
- Managing grief from deaths at the holiday,
- deaths associated with that time of season by proximity
- deaths that happened recently.
- Experiencing grief because you’ve lost someone in the past,
especially if it is not a relationship you have finished
- Anticipating someone close to you dying—even if they are in
- The fear that you will be overwhelmed with their death
- The fear that you won’t be able to cope
- The fear that you will become so depressed, that you can’t get
out of it
- We talk about carrying that person in our heart moving forward,
and if possible having these conversations NOW while the person is
still alive (if appropriate)
- We have all managed loss
- We have more tools that we remember we do
- We will feel sad, and we will manage
- We can get extra support, counseling, therapy, coaching, join
We all need death and dying education. It is necessary so we can
know what we see, and that we can manage it when that time comes.
We will all lose people we love to death-- that leaves only the
option of being ready. That, in and of itself, helps ward off being
caught unaware and thrown into depression. We know those who are
ready and have reorganized before a death are the ones who will
thrive afterward in their new life. Those who live a fear of death
and will not prepare are the ones who do not fare well.
SO WHAT DO WE DO TO GET READY?
- Plan ahead
- Don’t overspend
- Avoid stores if the input is too much, or too much of a
reminder with a recent loss.
- You can order everything, including groceries, online.
- Don’t plan on every little activity.
- Limit them
- Limit time there
- Take your own car
- Look for an exit
- Don’t feel a need to explain
- GRIEF CARD TIME
- SET BOUNDARIES. ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE GRIEVING, YOU GET TO SET
- PRACTICE WHAT YOU WILL SAY TO THOSE CROSSING BOUNDARIES
- GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO CHANGE IT UP!
- Take a vacation instead of doing what you traditionally do
- Invite new friends over
- Choose to celebrate on a different day, or someone new
- DON’T INCLUDE THOSE WHO DO NOT FEEL GOOD IN YOUR SPACE
- DO INCLUDE THOSE YOU HAVE LOST- PEOPLE, PETS
- IF THERE IS AN ANNIVERSARY AT THE HOLIDAYS?
- REMEMBER THERE IS MORE THAN THANKSGIVING AND
- NEW YEAR’S IS EVEN WORSE
- TV COVERAGE OF THOSE WHO DIED- BUT OUR SPECIAL PEOPLE AND PETS
ARE NOT ON THAT LIST, ARE THEY?
- WRITE DOWN WHAT WORKS
- WHAT FELT GOOD
- WHAT YOU MIGHT WANT TO DO DIFFERENTLY.
- THAT MEANS JOURNAL DAILY. YOU WILL NOT REMEMBER
- GRATITUDE JOURNAL TO SET YOUR MINDFRAME
- EXERCISE AS YOU ARE ABLE
- POSITIVE INPUT- EXAMPLE: MT RUBIDIOUX, NOT THE FESTIVAL IF YOU
DO NOT WANT CROWDS, OR THE FESTIVAL LATE AT NIGHT WITH A FRIEND TO
SEE THE LIGHTS, BUT NOT THE CROWDS.
- Wolfenoot - It’s pronounced Wolf-a-noot according to Buzzfeed,
and takes place on November 23rd. (If you wish to celebrate, you
should be prepared for the Spirit of the Wolf to visit your home.
This Spirit will hide and leave behind gifts for you, your children
and, of course, dogs. The people who treat canines kindly get
better presents than those who don’t, but this gift-giver doesn’t
seem to penalize people who are just kind of indifferent to
animals. We aren’t sure if the Spirit of the Wolf leaves presents
On Wolfenoot, you will celebrate by eating roasted meats,
because meat is a dog’s favorite food, and a cake decorated like a
full moon because dogs like to howl sometimes.) (If you’re a
vegetarian, or a vegan, you obviously adjust so that this fits with
your values and beliefs)
It feels like a nice way to change the tone-- to be grateful and
thank our furry friends in any way you choose. It was created by a
child in New Zealand, around the concept of kindness.
For the holidays, coping with grief is about being Gumby. Bend,
Flex, Change it up. Make it work for you.
WAYS TO GENERATE CONVERSATION
- Is there someone you’ve had in your world that has died that
you want to include in our blessing, or holiday tradition(s)
- Tell me about your pets? Tell me who they were
- What part of that person is always going to be a part of
- What lessons did you learn?
- Who were they for you?
- How did they impact your life?
Jill Johnson-Young, LCSW is a dynamic and engaging speaker who
loves teaching both professional and community groups about
dementia, death and dying, and grief and loss. She is the CEO of
Central Counseling Services in Riverside, California, where she is
also a clinical therapist. She is a certified Grief Recovery
Facilitator after spending more than a decade with hospice as a
medical social worker and as a director of social workers,
chaplains and grief staff. She holds a BA from UC
Riverside and her MSW from the University of South Florida.
Jill has authored three children’s grief books and an adult grief
workbook with more in process, and created Your Path Through Grief,
a year-long, comprehensive grief support program which includes
resources for therapists.
Patricia Young hosts the podcast Unapologetically Sensitive, and
works with Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) helping them to
understand their HSP traits, and turning their perceived
shortcomings into superpowers. Patricia is passionate about
providing education to help HSPs and non-HSPs understand and truly
appreciate the amazing gifts they have to offer. Patricia works
globally online with HSPs providing coaching. Patricia also
facilitates online groups for HSPs that focus on building community
and developing skills (identifying your superpowers, boundaries,
perfectionism, dealing with conflict, mindfulness, embracing
emotions, creating a lifestyle that supports the HSP, communication
My pet is sick: It’s time to say goodbye by Jill
Someone is sick: How do I say Goodbye? By Jill Johnson-Young
Someone I love just died: What happens now? By Jill
Your own path through grief; A workbook for your journey to
recovery by Jill Johnson-Young
Amazon link for Jill’s books--
Leo Buscaglia-- http://www.buscaglia.com/biography
Leo Buscaglia YouTube—How to Love and be Loved-- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8tw9ontdc0
Bonus Episode 21 : I lost my sh*t, and it’s not about the gravy
Facebook group Unapologetically Sensitive-- https://www.facebook.com/groups/2099705880047619/
Music-- Gravel Dance by Andy Robinson www.andyrobinson.com