Grief & the Holidays - Acupuncture Health Minute

Updated: Dec 2, 2021



"Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year . . ." Is a favorite song for many people around the holidays. However, it is not the "most wonderful time" for people in their first year of grief. It is a year filled with firsts that no one wants to celebrate. The first time you laugh again. The first time you watch your loved ones favorite movie or TV show without them. Then there are the first holidays. Yes, holidays is plural because each holiday brings its own grief triggers and responses.



As an acupuncturist, I understand that each season is linked with a natural element,

organ, and emotion. Right now, we are in late Autumn, and the element is Metal, the organ is the Lung, and the emotion is Grief.

Metal Governs organization, communication and protecting boundaries. It also

represents an opportunity to finish up projects and reap the “harvest” of all the hard

work done during the active seasons.

The Lung is associated with the act of “letting go”. It is susceptible to wind and cold.

Grief is the emotion that is directly tied to the Lung. Did you feel like you could not breath in deep grief? This emotion embodies “letting go” and grieving changes around us. Grief often feels like a negative emotion, It cleanses us of behaviors, beliefs, and rituals that were vital to our lives with our loved ones that passed on.

Autumn is a healing time to make your journey through grief rather than letting it stay buried inside.



In the days leading up to the winter solstice the days become shorter and the weather cooler. We can strengthen ourselves to face the holiday cheer with warm, spiced teas, pungent vegetables, and soups with delicious herbs that calm the spirit and warm the soul, Ask me for a list of teas and herbs!



We begin to hunker down into routine and structure and begin to let go of the past months, and breathe in the new times to arrive. Square breathing can be used to reset your autonomic nervous system which allows the body to relax.




Planning ahead for parties, gatherings, and surprise visits is crucial to surviving the first holiday season without our loved ones. Declining an invitation is allowed. Attending a party is allowed. Cancelling at the last minute because you have a sudden moment of grief wash over you is allowed.




Something that can help with all of the questions is making a card to bring with you that fields the questions for you. These questions can feel intrusive as people ask:

How you are doing?

How your loved one died?

How are the other family members?

Why are you still grieving?

These questions are asked by friends, acquaintances, and strangers. These questions can make gatherings and parties near impossible to cope. Printing cards ahead of time that says the amount of information that you wish to share can allow you to politely let people know your boundaries.



Both Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine can help you during your journey through grief to find balance and tranquility. There are modalities that are excellent to help harmonize emotions and dull the sharp pains of grief: Japanese Acupuncture, Five Element Acupuncture, and Korean Acupuncture (to name a few).

As both a widow and an Acupuncture Physician, I would like to help you walk the path from grief to joy. Make your appointment today.


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