Mother’s Day is around the corner. In the United States, Mother’s Day is celebrated on May 8th. The history of the holiday goes back hundreds of years and the modern way we know the holiday can be attributed to activist Anna Jarvis. Though early versions of the holiday can be traced back to the Middle Ages, it was in 1907 that Jarvis held a memorial service for her recently deceased mother (who was also an activist) in West Virginia. This was the unofficial start of the holiday.
Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day an official holiday several years later, in 1914. In the century since, the holiday has become much more commercialized. But for many, it is still very personal and a way for Americans to celebrate special mother figures in their lives. Every mother has their own unique story, their own upbringing and their own experience. While the purpose of the holiday is to be joyous, for many, it can be quite the opposite.
And as we celebrate our mother’s this year, it’s important to remember those mothers or mother figures that are no longer with us, and those dealing with grief or loss. Here are some reminders and tips for those who are struggling or mourning on this Mother’s Day:
It’s important to not avoid or ignore painful emotions or feelings that need to be
recognized and felt. It’s completely normal to feel a higher level of grief on a day like Mother’s Day than other days of the year. Let yourself cry, get angry or frustrated, or even remind yourself of happy memories that can bring a smile to your face, even for just a moment. Feel the emotion but don’t get caught up in it. Let your feelings and emotions come and go like stones in a stream.
2. Get active
Many roll their eyes when exercise is suggested as a response to dealing with stress. The reason it’s always suggested is because it works. Anything that gets your heart rate up is an excellent way to get out stress and frustrations you have on a day that can be painful for you.
Meditation has become more popular in recent years as a stress reliever and a way for people to improve the quality of their daily lives. By sitting back and counting your breaths, scanning your body and letting yourself be as you are, you are helping yourself manage your stress levels and regulating tough emotions.
4. Go to a support group
Sometimes talking to someone in a similar situation can be validating and freeing. Grief support groups are available all across Chicago and other cities across the nation. Many meetings are now virtual as well. You can visit psychologytoday.com or betterhelp.com to find a local meeting that fits you.
5. Do what comforts you
Familiarity can be comforting and give you some solace as you grieve. Watching your favorite TV show you’ve seen a hundred times, taking a long bath, eating your favorite meal or reading a book can all be things to give you a bit of peace as you deal with your difficult emotions this Mother’s Day.
Most importantly, go easy on yourself. No one has the same experience as you; give yourself the support you need to process and get through a difficult day the best you can. Browse the resources on Conquer Life App to give yourself the extra boost you need.
“A Beginner's Guide to Meditation.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 22 Apr. 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/testsprocedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858. Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Mother’s Day". Encyclopedia Britannica, 8 Mar. 2022, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Mothers-Day. Accessed 16 April 2022.
“Exercise and Stress: Get Moving to Manage Stress.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 18 Aug. 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469.
Conquer Life is a media company and online community established in 2019 with an app that features resources, daily affirmations, talks on mental health, documentaries and much more. Check out conquerlifeco.com for more info.