Coping with Grief During the Holidays
In our culture, the holiday season is treated as a time for universal joy, celebration, and thankfulness. But for many people, the holidays bring on overwhelming feelings of grief and sadnesses. This is especially true for those who have recently lost a loved one. If you’re one of those people who’ve come to dread the holidays, you’re not alone. And most importantly, you’re not wrong for feeling the way you do. A great loss naturally brings on feelings of sadness, and happy memories associated with past holidays often only make the feelings of loss more acute. There are things you can do, however, to cope with the season’s grief. And hopefully, continue the slow healing process.
5 Tips for Coping With Grief
- Communicate Your Feelings: You might feel compelled to keep your feelings to yourself out of fear of burdening others, but suffering in silence is unnecessary. Sometimes simply telling others that you’re struggling during the holidays will make you feel less alone.
- Give Yourself a Break: The demands of the holiday season can be overwhelming under normal circumstances, but when you’re suffering with grief, they can quickly become unbearable. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to ease up on sending out greeting cards, baking, hosting or any other holiday obligations. If you take care of yourself first, you’ll find you’re better suited to deal with holiday stress.
- Don’t be Afraid to Change Holiday Traditions: Many people look forward to their cherished holiday traditions more than the holiday itself. But after a loss, those traditions can often become a source of great pain. So instead of forcing yourself to participate in these painful events, don’t be afraid to opt out. You can also try creating new traditions that are separate from your loss. And hopefully – in the process – you’ll begin creating new, happy memories you can carry forward.
- Try Giving Back: Volunteering in your community can be a great way to bring some joy to the holidays. There are certainly dozens of worthy causes in your own backyard that would benefit greatly from your involvement. And when you give to others freely, you’ll find your own rewards as well.
- Take Your Time: Perhaps most importantly, you shouldn’t feel pressure to get over your feelings on any timeline but your own. This is your journey to take and you alone will decide when it’s over.
Grief is Part of the Human Condition
It’s natural to feel great sadness at the loss of a loved one. That’s why hospice programs throughout the country employ grief counselors to help their client’s families process these difficult transitions. If you have questions about grief counseling or end-of-life care, you can contact Southland Hospice at (602)-497-4100. With a little care, and the right support from friends and family, you can get through the holiday season and continue on your path to healing.