If you or someone you know is facing the first holiday season without a loved one such as a spouse or lifelong friend, it may be a challenge to handle reminders of the holidays, including family traditions, shopping, events or decorating.

The important thing to realize is that no matter how long you’ve been grieving for a loved one. For most people, the holidays typically bring grief back to the surface. Should I act like everything is okay so the rest of the family can enjoy the holidays? Is it all right for me to skip traditions if they seem too hard to handle?

But reaching out and learning how to find the strength and support can help a person take charge of the grief, and that will go a long way toward making the holidays after the loss of a loved one a bit more bearable.

1. Accept that your pain will be triggered

From music to decorations, to shoppers crowding stores to holiday advertisements, the holidays are all around us. Some people find that simply accepting the fact that the holiday season will be hard and painful provides more strength to cope.

2. Prepare and plan ahead

Thinking ahead and anticipating activities allow people the opportunity to structure time in such a way that mitigates the temptation to overdo things or get caught up in others’ expectations and regret it later.

 3. Ask for support and help

Getting enough support during the holidays means reaching out to others who may be experiencing or have experienced the same thing, as well as asking for assistance with holiday preparations. Most people find grief lessens when they realize others feel the exact same way. Though it is important to set aside time to grieve, don’t become isolated, especially during the holidays.

Here are some new traditions you can start in memory of your loved one:

  1. Donate to a cause he or she was passionate about.
  2. Volunteer and donate time, food or toys.
  3. Plant a tree in memory of your loved one.


Here are some additional ways to help ease grief during the holiday season:

  1. Plan healthy meals, time for exercise and drink plenty of water.
  2. Do not stifle emotions.
  3. Set aside time to experience sadness and anger.
  4. Journaling thoughts and feelings can help ease grief.
  5. Be truthful about your feelings when asked.
  6. Ask who will be attending and what activities are planned.


Thank you to LakePrinceWoods.org for this amazing article.

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