Grief Around the Holidays

You should know that grief is often exacerbated around the holidays which can make this time of year especially difficult for you. 

As we enter the holiday season, consider these strategies, from “What’s your Grief?” to help you cope.  

  1. Acknowledge that the holidays will be different, and they will be tough. 
  1. Plan ahead and communicate with the people you will spend the holiday with in advance, to make sure everyone is in agreement about traditions and plans
  1. Light a candle in your home in memory of the person you’ve lost 
  1. See a counselor: Maybe you’ve been putting it off. The holidays are especially tough, so this may be the time to talk to someone. 
  1. Don’t feel guilty about skipping events if you’re experiencing holiday overload!
  1. Don’t get trapped. When you go to holiday events, drive yourself so you can leave if it gets to be too much. 
  1. Skip or minimize gifts: After a death, material things can seem less meaningful, and the mall can seem especially stressful. Talk as a family and decide whether you truly want to exchange gifts this year. 
  1. Ignore people who want to tell you what you “should” do for the holiday: Listen to yourself, trust yourself, communicate with your family, and do what works for you. 
  1. Ask for and say yes to help: There will be people who want to help and may offer their support. Take them up on their offers. 
  1. Make some quiet time for yourself: The holidays can be hectic, make quiet time for yourself to journal, meditate, listen to music, etc. 
  1. Remember, it is okay to be happy – this doesn’t diminish how much you love and miss the person who isn’t there this holiday. Don’t feel guilty for the joy you do find this holiday season. 

Keep in mind, this advice is not one-size-fits-all. Take what works for you and leave the rest. As you navigate this holiday season be gentle with yourself and others, spend time with loved ones, and keep the memory of families and friends whom you grieve.