The holidays are a time for joy, but for those experiencing grief after a loss, this season can bring an extra layer of pain. In this post, we explore ways to cope with grief during the holidays to make this time of year bearable. From seeking out support from family and friends to finding healthy outlets for your emotions, learn how you can get through this difficult season in one piece.
Ways to Cope With Holiday Grief
Grief is a difficult experience at any time of the year, but especially so during the holidays. The memories of past holidays spent with your loved one can be bittersweet, and you may find yourself feeling lonely and isolated during this time. Here are 5 tips for dealing with grief during the holidays:
1. Acknowledge Your Grief
It's okay to feel sad, angry, or lost during the holidays. Don't try to bottle up your emotions or pretend everything is okay when it's not. The first step towards healing is acknowledging your pain. Consider journaling about your grief and writing down what you miss most about your loved one. Simply putting down your thoughts on paper could help to ease your mind. Even writing a goodbye letter, as if writing it to your loved one, can help you feel a sense of closure after loss.
2. Reach Out to Others
If you're struggling to cope with grief on your own, seek out support from family and friends, or a licensed therapist or counselor. If you're feeling particularly lonely, there are also many grief support groups available online or in your community. You can visit https://www.griefshare.org/ to find a Grief Share support group near you. You can also visit https://www.dougy.org/program-finder to find grief support programs specifically designed for kids. Dougy.org has many resources to help kids understand and process their grief after loss.
3. Talk About Your Loved One
This can help you remember the good times and keep their memory alive. Share stories and memories with family and friends. This can help you feel connected to your loved one and can also help others who are experiencing grief of their own. You may also enjoy doing something meaningful in honor of your loved one. Whether it’s setting up a special memorial or simply sharing fond memories with others, finding ways to honor your loved one can help to ease your grief during this tough time.
4. Create New Traditions
If your grief after a loss makes certain holiday activities too painful to bear, start new traditions that will be special to you and your loved ones. This can help create happy new memories to replace the sadness of mourning good times past. You might even benefit from taking up a new hobby. Many have found that learning a new skill helps them through their grief by providing a positive outlet for their emotions and a sense of accomplishment.
5. Take Care of Yourself
Grief can be exhausting, both emotionally and physically. Make sure to get plenty of rest and eat healthy meals to help keep your energy up. Take a break from the news or other reminders of loss and focus on activities that bring you joy. Consider signing up as a volunteer for a cause that you care about. Volunteering after loss can help rekindle your sense of purpose and take your mind off of your grief. It is also a great way to meet new friends. Having social support from other caring individuals can make holiday grief more bearable.
Grief is Normal
It is important to remember that grief is a normal response to loss. While the above suggestions can make the holiday season more enjoyable, don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t feel like celebrating like you used to. There is no timeline for grief, and you may find yourself feeling a range of emotions, including sadness, anger, anxiety, and confusion. It is okay to cry and to express your feelings. Allow yourself to process your grief in whatever way best suits you, and know that you are not alone.