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How to deal with grief and loneliness during festive season

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If Diwali is not the same for you this year as you may have lost your loved ones, comedian Mallika Dua has a thing or two to say to you. Read on!

In 2020, Mallika Dua’s ‘Happy Diwali’ post on Instagram saw her smile ear-to-ear and cheek-to-cheek with her mother Padmavati aka Chinna Dua. In June 2021, the comedian-actor lost her mom to coronavirus-related complications. Diwali is not the same for her this year – just as it isn’t for several people and families who
have lost their loved ones for one reason or another. Diwali may be a little dim for those people this year, but Mallika has sent out a strong and sensitive message, urging those like her, to “keep that little tiny bulb on” within.

Mallika Dua’s Diwali message

Mallika’s heartwarming words are like a soothing balm on a wound, reassuring in every which way for people who may have lost a friend, relative, spouse, acquaintance or child, due to the deadly Covid-19 waves.

“For all of us who have lost people this year, all of us who have lost the light of their lives this year, Diwali is not something we are looking forward to as such… This year, it has been painful and triggering for a lot of people,” Mallika says in the
video.

She goes on to share a fair rationale: “I don’t think God targeted us… It was a wave and it took everybody. And in that also there is varying degree, for better or for worse.”

Acknowledging that Diwali won’t be the same as she would feel the vacuum, Mallika says she has found her own little ways to keep herself busy. She plans to visit therapy, take her boxing training, meet her family members and speak to her nephew. What she doesn’t plan to do to do is take any sort of pressure to
dress up or celebrate.

“I will just make it busy so that it doesn’t hit me in the face that it’s Diwali and it’s not the brightest one. I am sure there are many of us who are struggling with this dilemma that ‘Should we jump back to life and participate in everything’, or ‘How do we shake off any sort of trauma we have?’,” notes Mallika.

Watch and listen to Mallika’s Instagram post here!

But hello ladies, it’s up to you how you want to deal with your grief and the loss of a loved one.

Mallika believes, “We have to make sure to find that little light bulb inside us, and be that for other people. That’s because you will always find someone who is facing a situation worse than yours.”

Calling it “trauma bonding”, she says it always helps to know that one is not alone in grief. But yes, it helps more to not remind yourself that while it may be a special day for many, it is not so for you.

While losing a loved one is one valid reason, people could feel a sense of loneliness during the festive season due to multiple reasons. Ambika Chawla, Clinical Psychologist at Kaleidoscope- a unit of Dr. Bakshi’s Healthcare, tells HealthShots about the possible reasons.

These could also be the reasons behind your loneliness during Diwali

1. Living away from home: Students who stay in hostel, soldiers
posted away from home, citizens living internationally

2. Living alone: When living alone in old age, or because of
separation from close family members

3. Elderly: Often, the elder people are left out of festivities
because they can’t match up the energy levels

Let’s see what could be done to remove or reduce loneliness around a festival like Diwali:

1. Connect with your friends and family
There may be some long lost relatives with whom you bonded well in early stages of life. Try to bring them back in your life by connecting with them.

2. Get to know the rationales behind the festivals
Instead of cribbing over the times of festivals, one may get to know their significance and existence.

3. Find new ways to enjoy the festival
There may be some fixed ways for you to enjoy the festival with your family so far, but now you can find some new customs or new rituals to give a new meaning to the festival for yourself.

Also Read: Feeling lonely during the holiday or festive season? Here’s how to cope with it

Diwali
Try to remove or reduce the feeling of loneliness and emptiness. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Build new relations
You can seek new relations from your neighbourhood, office, etc.

5. Be a part of neighbourhood Diwali celebrations
Having strong bonds with neighbours can help you to be a part of their celebrations and enjoy festivals.

6. Establish and improve existing relationships
Some ties may be getting loosened, possibly because of distance, reduced communications, familial disturbances. Festivals could be the time to improve those existing relationships, if you want.

7. Engage in volunteer opportunities
If nothing, then one can get engaged into volunteering activities to bring happiness in the life of others who need it too.

8. Cherish old memories
The times that can’t be brought back need not only be dismissed for their nature, but can be cherished well through stories, pictures, or mental imagery.

9. Nurture gratitude
We usually forget to connect with superpowers at other times in life. Festivals can also be seen as opportunities to display gratitude for life to them.

10. Rethink your expectations
Do not hold unreasonable expectations for yourself, and readjust if they are there.

11. Do good for yourself
Instead of waiting for surprises or goodness from others, do something different and new for yourself.

If you feel loaded by the lonely feeling and find it hard to deal with it, these effective ways will aid in beating the loneliness by making your festival feel more inclusive!

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