The holidays can be a very tough time for someone who has experienced the death of a loved one. They are mourning the loss of their loved one and reminded of the good times they shared during past holidays. Sadness is compounded when we feel overwhelmed, stressed out and lonely. Unfortunately, these are common feelings during the holiday season. 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 mourning the loss of holiday traditions with a deceased loved one, take this opportunity to birth new traditions 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. 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.