The holidays can be a very tough time for people who have experienced the death of a loved one. Not only are they mourning the loss of their loved one, they are also reminded of good times and togetherness shared during the holiday seasons past. Sadness is amplified when we feel overwhelmed, stressed out and lonely. Coping with grief at the holidays begins with acknowledging that the season will be different and very likely difficult.
Three tips to help you or a loved one cope with grief during the Holidays
- Don’t Cancel Your Holiday Plans: Even though the holidays conjure feelings of loss, don’t cancel your holiday plans. It’s OK to want to spend time alone to grieve, but completely isolating yourself can lead to depression. Instead, surround yourself with people who love and support you. Spending time with people who share cherished memories can be a source of comfort.
- Take Time to Create New Traditions: Instead of spending the holidays mourning the loss of holiday traditions with a deceased loved one, take the opportunity to birth new traditions and rituals or a hybrid of old and new. Discuss new activities with your friends and family and enlist their help in deciding which you want to include this year. And remember that starting new traditions does not mean you have forgotten your loved one.
- Be Kind to Yourself: Cut yourself some slack. It’s OK to feel angry or sad that you’re spending the holidays without your loved one. Don’t put on a facade – share your feelings with people who love and support you. It is healthy and will help you heal.
Bonus Tip: Don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t overcommit. Save your energy (mental, emotional and physical) for the events that are most important to you and your family.