5 Tips for Self-Care on Memorial Day

Author: Zaneta Gileno

Memorial Day

Whether this is your first Memorial Day or one of many since the passing of your loved one, this weekend can be especially challenging. On difficult holidays such as this, it’s important to practice self-care. Here are five tips to help you prepare for Memorial Day weekend and care for yourself:

1. Have a plan

It can be tempting to go into the weekend without a real plan in efforts to avoid it being difficult. But, it is best to have some idea of what you will do that day. Will you spend the day with family? Will you attend a memorial ceremony? Will you lay low and stay home? Whichever you desire, make a plan and share it with those closest to you.

2. Have grace with yourself

Although this our nation’s day of remembrance to honor our fallen, the loss of our loved one is paramount every day of our lives. It’s OK to not want to participate in memorial events. It’s also OK to want to get out and do something special. Have grace with yourself to honor where you are in your journey.

3. Ask for help

Emotions can hit us hard, often when we least expect it. If you plan to attend a local Memorial Day event, we encourage you to bring a family member or trusted friend with you. It’s a good idea to get a ride to any event or outing you plan to attend. Perhaps your fallen hero is being honored at a local ceremony, but you aren’t sure you have the strength to attend. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask someone you know to attend on your behalf. Don’t be afraid to ask for support from your loved ones.

4. Have an exit plan

If you decide to head out to an event, have an exit plan. Tell the host you may not stay for the whole event but are glad to be coming. When you feel you are ready to leave, simply take care of yourself and go. Also, don’t feel pressured to speak to media while at an event or attend an event you are not comfortable with.

5. Remember you are not alone

Whether you will be joining us in Washington, D.C., at the TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp this year or not, just remember your TAPS family is always here to support you. We are a family and are here to share this journey with you. Know that you can call our National Military Survivor Helpline 24/7 at 800-959-TAPS (8277).


From the pen of…

Zaneta M. Gileno, LMSW, CT,  began her social work career as a professional in the child welfare system. Her efforts to reunite families and empower parents helped shape her as a practitioner.  A graduate of Columbia University School of Social Work, Zaneta now serves as Director, Community Based Care for TAPS. As a grief professional and certified Thanatologist, she offers direct survivor support, ensures the TAPS community of survivors is connected to grief counseling and support groups, and establishes and maintains the network of TAPS own support group model. In addition she oversees internal professional education as well as TAPS professional development offerings. She is also the liaison for TAPS Board Of Advisors.

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