The holiday season can be magical and exciting, but it can also be one of the most challenging times of the year if you’re dealing with the loss of someone or something in your life. Whether it’s a recent loss or one that occurred years ago, grief and loss can be amplified during the holiday season.
Common feelings surrounding grief and loss can include sadness, disbelief, and fear. Grief is a natural response that most of us face throughout our lives. Whether it’s the loss of a parent, a grandparent, or a friend, these times can be some of the most difficult times in one’s life.
We can experience grief for many reasons: the end of a relationship, the loss of a pet, or the loss of a job. It can even come from the loss of freedom or independence, financial security, our home, or our dreams. We can even experience grief for things that haven’t occurred yet (known as “anticipatory grief”).
Lawyers and Loss
Several characteristics commonly found in lawyers and the practice of law can detrimentally affect one’s ability to process through the emotions that accompany grief and loss. To start, attorneys often emotionally detach themselves from their clients and their cases, especially when dealing with emotional clients and/or challenging and traumatic issues. Lawyers do this to focus on the factual details necessary to successfully advocate for their client. However, when lawyers do this case-after case, year-after year, they can start to detach in their personal lives, as well, making it challenging to express and process their own emotions, including grief.
And to top it off, the rates of mental health and substance use issues among practicing lawyers are about double that of the general population. When faced with a loss, those issues are often exacerbated.
Prioritizing Your Own Well-Being Through this Journey
Grief and loss are integral parts of the human experience and, when facing a loss, it is critical to prioritize your own well-being. Some may think this is being greedy, especially when we as professional problem-solvers might have to help support those around us dealing with the same loss. However, it’s essential that we not only recognize how that loss affects us, but also embrace and process through those emotions. Allow yourself to feel and grieve. And remember, everyone grieves differently, at their own pace, and there is no “right” way to navigate the process.
The most important thing is to seek support from family, friends, and/or a mental health professional. Establishing and relying on connections through challenging times will not only help you through your own grieving journey, but it will hopefully allow you to be present and find some joy through this holiday season.
LCL offers free counseling and has therapists with experience and education in navigating through your grief and loss journey. To contact LCL, please call 651-646-5590 or email [email protected].