The holidays can be an emotional roller coaster at any time. But when you have lost a loved one, the holidays can feel almost impossible to navigate. The holidays can be particularly difficult for those left behind. They may bring more profound feelings of grief than during your normal routine. Though grief is a personal journey, there are steps that can help you better cope during this challenging time. We hope sharing 8 ways to cope with grief during the holidays will help you find peace this holiday season.
Tips To Cope With Grief During The Holidays
• Communicate. Too many of us suffer in silence, putting on a brave face to the world. It’s important to your well-being to communicate how you’re feeling. Finding a support group or even just one person can be a much-needed outlet. Talking with someone who can be a real support, and who can listen and understand, will help you feel less isolated in your grief. This may be a time when you most need the support of others.
• You Decide. How you choose to celebrate the holidays is up to you. Friends and family may try to suggest what they feel is best for you out of love and concern. Be honest. Let them know what feels right for you. You may find comfort in celebrating and being surrounded by loved ones. But it’s OK to do it on your terms — by doing less, decreasing obligations or perhaps doing even more. Whatever you decide, set realistic expectations for yourself. Make it about you rather than worrying that you will disappoint others.
• Go Back To A Ritual. Sometimes going back to beloved traditions can bring comfort. Getting lost in old rituals like baking cookies like you did as a child, making homemade decorations or cooking for days can help you find an escape.
It’s OK To Have Fun. Guilt can be a huge barrier. Believing we should not be joyful, not laugh or not have any fun is very normal after the loss of a loved one. But your loved one would want you to return to joy. Think of it as celebrating the love you had with each other. Doing something that is not focused on loss does not diminish your grief or the love you have for the person you lost. It will do your soul good to let in some light and embrace joy where you can find it.
• Share Memories. When gathering with family and friends for holiday celebrations, encourage everyone to share memories of your loved one. Honoring their memory can help you feel their presence and reconnect you to the joy they brought to everyone’s lives.
• Give Yourself Permission. Give yourself time and permission to feel sad. It’s OK to feel what you feel. Grief is real, it’s painful, it’s natural. It’s OK to let yourself feel that pain. There can even be value in allowing yourself to feel difficult feelings; it is part of the healing process.
• Create New Rituals. Creating new rituals that celebrate your loved one can help you feel like you’re honoring their life. Cook their favorite holiday meal and write out the recipes for the family. Plan a holiday movie night where you gather to watch their favorite movies. Visit a favorite place. Create a new way to celebrate.
• Embrace Your Memories. Looking back on a life well lived can help you move forward. The loss can feel tremendous, but remembering the good times can help you realize the joy they had while they were here.
Celebrating this holiday season, on your own terms, can help these hard days feel easier to navigate and may even bring you some joy. While it’s true the holidays will not be the same, you can recreate them in a way that is still meaningful to you.
Roze Room provides bereavement support to grieving individuals, families, and communities at any stage of loss. Our Bereavement Team consists of experienced, licensed professionals who believe that grief is a natural and difficult response to loss.
For more information, please contact our Bereavement Coordinator at (866) 840-7693.