The holidays are typically a time when friends and family gather together. But it is also a time for many people who have lost loved ones, where there is pain and sorrow. If you or a loved one have experienced loss around this time of the year, then this article was meant to find you. You might be feeling overwhelmed during this holiday season, but there are things that you can do to help make the season feel more bearable. Although the pain and the sadness you’re feeling may still be present, there are ways to ease some of your pain during this difficult time. Grief can be complicated, and it may look different for everyone. Please know that there is no right or wrong way to approach the Holidays. Allow yourself to grieve and be present with those who are here to help support you.
Acknowledge Your loss
The first step is to acknowledge your loss. It is a part that carries on with you forever. You might feel guilty about celebrating the holidays without your loved one. It is important to acknowledge the feelings that you are experiencing around this time of year.
Accept the loss
You can celebrate without feeling guilty for doing so. Be kind to yourself. Your loved one would want you to celebrate with friends and family, in their honor. Be kind to yourself and accept that this person might no longer physically be here, but they will forever hold a special place in your heart.
Honor Traditions & the Memories
Making new traditions in honor of your loss could be helpful. It is okay to celebrate in new ways and try new things. Feeling positive or new things does not mean that your love is gone, it just means that you’re honoring them in a new way.
Create New Traditions
Creating new traditions can be a part of your healing process. It can also be helpful for any of the people involved or to those who are also grieving the loss of a mutual person. Making new memories will not erase the old ones.
Incorporate New Coping Skills
Now is the perfect time to try to implement the use of new coping skills. Think about those activities that you’ve always wanted to try, but maybe you were too afraid to. Some examples of healthy coping skills could include deep breathing, yoga, listening to music, saying positive affirmations, meditating, or exercising.
Volunteer to Help Others
Helping others who are in need may help alleviate some of the sadness that you are experiencing. Doing something charitable, especially around the holiday season is something that those in need will forever remember.
Ask For Help
It is completely okay to ask for help. Seek help from friends and family during this difficult time. You’re not alone in this. There are people that care about you, love you, and want to be there for you. There is no right or wrong way to grieve a loss. Try not to isolate yourself, and instead let people know what you think you need. It is okay to be vulnerable at times and ask for a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen.
Be gentle and kind to yourself. You’re doing the best you can right now. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Be patient with yourself and try to understand that you are going through a tough time right now.
Focus on the Here and Now
Thoughts about future holidays and things to come will cause you to feel panic and stressed. Focus on the things that you can control right now. Engaging in activities that provide you with a sense of comfort is helpful.
Tips to Support a Friend, Family Member or Coworker Experiencing Grief During the Holidays:
- Checking in: Make sure they are taking care of themselves like eating and sleeping. Ask them what they need right now. If they are unsure of what that is, let them know that you are here to support them in any way they need.
- Allow them to share about their loss: Giving space to allow them to share about their grief and loss is important. Creating a safe space and being nonjudgmental will allow this person to express themselves in a way that is beneficial. This could be the greatest gift in itself during the holidays.
- Listen without giving advice: Listening to someone and being present is enough. People appreciate feeling heard and validated during difficult times. Offering support and a shoulder to cry on is helpful.
The holiday season is not always as cheerful and merry as we hope for it to be. It is normal to feel the way you feel. You might feel hesitant to seek out help. But know that you are never alone. Please allow yourself the time to grieve in whatever you feel is right. If you or a loved one have recently lost someone and are in need of services around the holidays, please call 610-644-6464 or reach out to us online.