Some Tips for Coping with Grief During the Holiday Season

By: Shama Rhoden
Tuesday, December 6, 2016

We all know that coping with grief and loss during the holidays can be extremely difficult for most families.  It is even extremely more difficult when the loss is sudden or recent.  It can cause some to go into a state of loneliness or depression.  Appetite, sleep, mood, and a willingness to engage with others are affected as a result.  

I always express to families that there is no appropriate or inappropriate way to grieve or cope with the loss of a loved one. This is, however, mostly difficult during the holiday season.  During the holidays, most people celebrate the arrival of family members, host or attend parties, share in gift-purchasing and giving, cook and bake, or send special cheer to those in need.   The uniting of family is an integral aspect of this, “joyful season.” When a loved one has passed on, depending on the strength of that bond, it would now appear as if a piece of that link has now been severed.   


Here are some suggestions that may help you or someone you know cope with grief during the holidays: 


Surround yourself with people who support and love you 

Remaining in the company of friends that genuienly support and care for you is indeed reassuring and soothing. Isolaton can lead to depression and a downward spiral of emotions. 


Allow yourself time to grieve 

There is no time table or chart relating to the process of grieving. At times, grief can be a life-long process for some.  These feelings usually subside over a period of time which allows for the upcoming holiday seasons to be more bearable. However, allow yourself to feel joy, anger, or sadness. This allows you to grieve.  


Find Comfort in Giving Back to Others 

Giving back or taking the time to expend your time volunteering for a special cause is a great way to do something positive for someone.  Whether it is through a charitable or religious organization, it is in fact an excellent way of dedicating your time in honor of your loved one and what this level of support would have meant to them. Helping those in need can assist immensely in reducing feelings of hurt or depression. This helps you to draw comfort in doing for others. 


Taking Care of Oneself 

Most people who experience loss neglect their self-care or ADLs (Activities of Daily Living).  It is important to get enough sleep, eat well, shower frequently, and exercise. Due to decreased energy levels, it is very easy to not have a desire to exercise any of the following.  


Be Honest with Your Feelings 

Please understand that it is absolutely okay to express to others that you are not in the mood or spirit of the holidays.  By doing so, your loved ones and friends know how you are truly feeling and know what to expect from you.  It is important to communicate exactly what you need from them. By them knowing and understanding what you need is a big help in getting through those very emotional and sorrowful days. 

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