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Coping with Grief and Loss During the Holidays

Have you or a friend lost loved ones in the past during the holiday season? Or maybe you’re experiencing the rush of loss right now. Wherever that special person may be in your mind and heart, know that they are out there smiling for you. The holidays can be a tough time to deal with loss but know that it’s okay to grieve while you smile and spend time with the people you love. Here are some tips to help get you or that special someone through the holiday season.

  1. Decide what you are able to handle and let your friends and family know. If you are usually the person who wakes up in the wee hours of the morning to cook holiday dinner but don’t think you can do it, then share that information. The holiday season can be both physically and emotionally draining.
  2. Things may not feel the same without your loved one and you might want to change things up in order to get back into the rhythm of things. Change the time you decorate or choose to open gifts.
  3. Recognize how important your loved one is to your family. Even if they are not there in person, they are still with you in spirit. Burn a special candle in their memory or to show their presence during that time.
  4. Get rest. Sometimes you just need to lay back and relax in order to get your mind off of things. Don’t let holiday stress take a toll on you.
  5. Don’t be afraid to express yourself. The holidays can often magnify feelings of sadness or loss. Share your concerns, apprehensions, and feelings with a friend or someone you trust and love. Know that they are there to support you.
  6. Do something special for someone else. You can donate a gift in the memory of your loved one. Or the money you would have spent on that person’s gift can be shared with charity.
  7. If you’re feeling lonely during the holidays, surround yourself with good people who will keep you engaged and involved.
  8. Don’t feel like you are being a Debbie Downer. Many bereaved people come to enjoy the holidays again. So know that if you’re not your normal upbeat self this season, there will be several more to celebrate.
  9. Don’t be afraid to let go and have fun during the holidays. It is not disrespectful to laugh while you are grieving. Allow yourself the opportunity to enjoy the holidays and don’t feel guilty.
  10. Know that your loved ones that have passed on care for you and are thinking of you wherever they are. Smile because you are here and you have not forgotten that.
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