As we move into the holiday season, life may become more difficult if your spouse recently passed away. Prepare yourself for the flood of emotions.

You may become overwhelmed

with sadness as memories of past holidays haunt you;

with loneliness as you attend holiday gatherings by yourself;

with stress since you’re the only one decorating and doing other seasonal chores.

Give yourself permission to be selfish with your time.

It’s okay to decline invitations.

It’s okay to stray from traditions.

It’s okay to take a break from the holidays.

Consider doing things differently during the upcoming holidays.

Work extra hours or find a second job.

Participate in volunteer opportunities.

Take a vacation.

There may be family and friends who will criticize your decision to do things differently. But remember,

they haven’t walked in your shoes;

they would criticize any decision;

they haven’t experienced death of a spouse.

Be strong with your decision

Don’t look for approval – everyone will have an opinion but only your opinion matters now;

Reassure yourself you are not running away – you’re just taking a break during the holidays;

Challenge yourself to embrace this drastic change in your life – you are resilient.

Acknowledging in advance that an event will challenge you emotionally, gives you time to prepare for it.Experiencing the death of a spouse, your life partner, is earth-shattering. There is no “right” way to handle it, especially during the holidays. Follow your instinct and put yourself first during this difficult time.

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Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, RICP®, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing spending plans, comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”