Dealing with Grief Over the Holidays

The holidays are a time to connect with those we love. They can also be a challenging time for those who have lost a loved one. Hearing a holiday song, tasting a family recipe or celebrating a tradition without that loved one can be hard to get through. Remember that grief can come on at any time and may look different for some than for others.

If you are struggling with grief this holiday season, here a few things to try that may help make it more bearable.

Ways to Deal with Grief During the Holidays

Embrace your feelings – If you are grieving, try not to ignore how you are feeling. The holidays are a busy time and it can be easy to brush off the waves of sadness that you might feel. Accepting and processing those feelings will be more effective. Allowing yourself to “feel” may help you to avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms like turning to alcohol for comfort.

Practice self-care – A common theme among the holidays is giving of yourself. From holiday parties to hosting guests to shopping for gifts, anyone can easily be pulled in different directions. If you are grieving, it is okay to not go to every get together. You may not feel like doing some of your normal traditions so, try not to feel guilty about it. What is most important in this time is to allow yourself the time you need to process. Getting the proper rest, eating a well-balanced diet and regular exercise are all part of healthy self-care regimen. 

Surround yourself with loved ones – Spend time with those who love and support you. You may feel like being alone and not doing anything. But do take some time to be around family & friends. Reflect on positive memories, laugh and do things you enjoy together.

Start new traditions- It may be hard for you to participate in some traditions that you used to do. If so, you could create some new traditions or even do some things that honor your loved one. For example, maybe you used to bake together but it feels too painful.  Instead, share a favorite meal with a friend or light a candle in honor of that person’s life.

Lend a helping hand – If you can it may help to give back to others in some way. You could volunteer at a local soup kitchen, at a pet shelter or give a gift in honor of your loved one. Practicing acts of kindness can sometimes help to lift your spirit.

Grief can sometimes feel overwhelming. If you feel like it is too much for you to process on your own, be sure to reach out to a professional for help. This year and every year we wish you a happy & healthy holiday season. Be sure to follow our blog and like/share us on Facebook for more helpful articles.