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When ‘New Year, New Me’ Feels Like ‘Same Grief, Old Me’: A 10 Step Guide to Coping With Grief in the New Year

By guest contributor, Leressa Joiner


As the world rings in a new year with declarations of transformation and fresh beginnings, those grappling with grief often find themselves standing at the crossroads of personal loss and societal expectations. In this blog post, we explore the unique challenges of navigating grief in the midst of “New Year, New Me” fervor, offering insights and coping strategies to honor your journey.

  1. Acknowledge Your Emotions Understanding that it’s okay to feel a sense of continuity in grief amid the New Year’s hype is the first step. Give yourself permission to acknowledge and embrace your emotions, even if they don’t align with the optimism surrounding you.
  1. Redefine Progress on Your Terms Contrary to societal norms, progress doesn’t always manifest as a complete reinvention. Explore the idea of progress as a personal, evolving journey. Consider small steps forward, embracing the healing process at a pace that feels right for you.
  1. Embrace Self-Compassion Be kind to yourself as you navigate the complex terrain of grief. Recognize that healing doesn’t adhere to a calendar, and it’s okay if your journey doesn’t align with the perceived timelines of others. Self-compassion becomes a powerful ally in this process.
  1. Create Meaningful Rituals Craft rituals that honor both the old and the new. Whether it’s dedicating time to memories or establishing new traditions, these rituals can serve as comforting anchors, bridging the gap between past and present.
  1. Seek Support and Understanding Connect with individuals who understand the unique challenges of grieving during celebratory times. Whether it’s friends, family, or support groups, fostering a network of understanding individuals can provide solace and a sense of community.
  1. Set Realistic Intentions Instead of succumbing to external pressures, set intentions that align with your personal needs and capacity. Small, achievable goals contribute to a sense of accomplishment without overwhelming the grieving heart.
  1. Cultivate Mindfulness Mindfulness practices offer a sanctuary for reflection and self-awareness. Whether through meditation, journaling, or mindful walks, these moments of presence can aid in managing the complex emotions that may arise.
  1. Honor Milestones and Memories Acknowledge and celebrate the milestones achieved, both big and small, within your grief journey. Pay homage to the memories that shape your ‘old’ self, recognizing them as integral threads in the fabric of your identity.
  1. Professional Support Consider seeking the guidance of a grief counselor or therapist who specializes in navigating the complexities of grief. Professional support can provide personalized coping strategies and a safe space for emotional exploration.
  1. Embracing Hope for the Future Despite the shadows of grief, allow space for hope. Cultivate a vision for the future that integrates the essence of your ‘old’ self with the possibilities of growth and renewal.

By acknowledging, understanding, and embracing your unique experience, you pave the way for genuine healing, making space for the coexistence of ‘same grief, old me’ within the anticipation of what the new year may bring. As we conclude this reflection, remember that your journey is uniquely yours. May the days ahead unfold with the grace and compassion you deserve. Until our paths cross again, take gentle steps forward.


Leressa Joiner is a Certified Life and Leadership Coach, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consultant, Grief Educator, Facilitator, Speaker, Advocate and Author. Leressa earned an Associates’ Degree from Metropolitan Community College as well as a Bachelor’s Degree from Bellevue University in Behavioral Health Science. In 2022, Leressa took a leap of faith and decided to bet on herself. With over 19 years’ experience in the coaching and consulting industry, she opened Leressa M. Coaching and Consulting, a firm that provides leadership training and development through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens.