Have you suffered a significant loss recently? If you are grieving, the holidays can be overwhelming. This joyous time can trigger some very intense emotions. You may be asking, “How am I going to make it through this joyful time without him/her?”
Here are 21 tips that can help you deal with loss and grief over the holidays.
- Acknowledge the holidays are going to be different this year and they will be tough.
- Create new traditions. You don’t have to do what you’ve always done in the past. Change can be good. Create a new tradition to honor your lost loved one.
- Make specific advance plans with friends and family. Decide where you wish to spend the holidays. It may be in the comfort of your home or with those close to you.
- Keep in mind, not everyone is going to be experiencing the loss as you do. Their expression of grief may be different than yours.
- Hang a memory stocking or place a memory box where others can write down their favorite memories. You can read these together in a group setting.
- Light candles in your home in memory of the person you’ve lost.
- Donate to a charity that was important to your lost loved one. You can do it in their name.
- If you’ve have been struggling with disposing of your loved one’s clothing or personal items, use this time of year to donate them to those in need. (Homeless shelters and other charities are great choices.)
- Make Christmas memorial decorations that serve to honor your loved one.
Send Holiday cards to your loved one’s friends so you can remain in contact with them.
- Plan a time with family and friends for viewing photos of your loved one. Share memories.
- Don’t feel obligated to buy gifts for others.
- Avoid malls and other public places that can serve as stressful reminders.
- Skip events if you are feeling overwhelmed with the holidays.
- Invite someone over who has no one to spend the holidays with
- Let yourself cry freely. The holidays can be full of emotional triggers.
- Do some volunteer work in your loved one’s memory
- Place wreaths and decorations at your loved one’s gravesite.
- Get support from others who are struggling with a loss. Support groups are great for sharing your pain with others.
- Go with the flow. Following a major loss, you will likely experience a roller coaster ride of emotions. Sadness, depression, fear, longing, confusion, and anger are all normal emotions following loss.
- Seek out help. Counseling can provide a safe place where you can safely express your emotions and receive guidance and feedback. This can be a very beneficial step in your recovery.
Most importantly, be patient with yourself during this time. You are in the midst of grieving a loss. You are not expected to be able to fully function. Be sure to be clear with others about your expectations, and practice self-care. Be gentle to yourself during this difficult time.
Coping with loss? Help is available during these tough times
Rick Merillat provides counseling and therapy services in Cape Coral and Fort Myers. He specializes in bereavement counseling. You can get help today by calling or submitting a contact request. You can send a message through the contact form and click Send.Please share this post!