Coping with the Holidays and Grief

During the holidays we gather with friends and family to celebrate and count our blessings, but for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one, this time of year can bring feelings of sadness and emptiness to the forefront again. This can be a difficult time of year for some, but fortunately, there are things that can help ease your pain.

Accepting and admitting that your loss will require adjustment in your life is especially crucial around the holidays. It is important to be patient with yourself during this process. Allow yourself time to grieve and speak openly with others you trust about how you are feeling.

Use the time you spend with family to talk not only about your own feelings, but to share memories with others as well. Your loved ones live on through the memories you have of them; through telling stories you can keep them alive in your hearts and their legacy can be passed on to future generations.

Continuing family traditions after suffering the loss of a loved one can often be too painful. Establishing new holiday traditions may allow you to celebrate the season with fewer feelings of emptiness caused by loss. Consider planning a trip with the family, work in a shelter on the holiday, or contribute to a favorite charity in lieu of buying gifts. Think about which traditions you would like to continue and what new activities you might introduce this year.

Those who are experiencing grief during the holidays often feel fatigued and withdrawn. Remember to take the time to care for yourself. Plan your holiday activities based on what you feel up to and do not be afraid to decline an invitation. Grief may sometimes be overwhelming. In keeping with taking care of and being patient with yourself, it may be necessary to keep your holiday schedule light.

Decorating the house may seem like more trouble than it is worth, but it can bring warmth into your home. Let your children, family or friends help as they can provide valuable companionship.

The holidays have a different meaning for everyone and that meaning can change from year to year. Fortunately, time has a way of healing and letting us go forward.

Warmest wishes for a healthy and joyous holiday season.