The holidays are often thought of as the most wonderful time of the year. But for many, it can also be a time of great sadness.
For those mourning the loss of a friend or family member, the holiday season can serve as a reminder of a loved one’s absence.
It’s important to remember that there are ways to still celebrate the season while honoring your loved ones.
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
Though you may be tempted to push your feelings aside, it’s important to give yourself the time, space, and permission to process your emotions.
Allow yourself to feel whatever comes up without judgment. Let your tears flow if you feel the need to cry or vent if you’re angry.
2. Plan Ahead
Just knowing that a certain holiday or festivity is approaching may fill you with a sense of dread or trigger feelings of grief.
Planning ahead of time can save you from unnecessary worry, as well as make the holiday season more enjoyable.
It can also be helpful to have an “escape plan” ready for moments when you need alone time.
3. Set Boundaries
You may not be up for doing as much this holiday season as other years and that’s okay. Boundaries are important, so if that invite to a friend’s or relative’s house seems to be too much, give yourself permission to not attend.
4. Honor Your Loved One
Finding ways to remember and include your loved one in your celebrations can actually help you process your grief, as well as keep their memories and spirit alive.
You might consider making a favorite meal or even just sharing your favorite memories or stories about that person.
5. Create New Traditions
While some may take comfort in keeping old traditions alive, it may feel too hard to carry on with those activities in the same way as usual.
Changing things up a bit might help reignite some excitement around the holidays and give you something to look forward to.
6. Help Someone Else
When you’re feeling down, helping others is a great way to get outside of yourself, boost your mood, and reduce stress.
7. Seek Support
It’s important to remember that you’re not alone in this. Let your loved ones know what you need.
Seek the support of family or friends that can simply be there to listen or offer a shoulder to cry on during this difficult time.
If you feel like you are struggling to cope with grief or could benefit from additional support, reach out to your primary care provider.