Losing a friend or a relative is devastating. And even though seasonal activities are supposed to be fun, these celebrations may magnify your grief. If you’re worried about pushing through the next few months, use these strategies for coping with loss during the holidays.
Recognize Grief Is Part of Healing
According to Psychology Today, “Grief is the process by which you heal.” Experiencing the pain, although unpleasant, can help you feel better in the long-term. Rather than ignoring or trying to escape your emotions, accept your sadness as part of your journey to better days.
Find a Way to Honor Your Loved One
Especially during the holidays, it’s important to keep your loved one’s memory alive. Give a toast, set an empty seat at the table, serve their favorite food or light a candle in their honor. If you’d like to invite others to participate, create a memory box and ask everyone to contribute a photograph, note or special object.
Pick and Choose Holiday Activities
If an event brings back too many memories, it’s fine to take a year (or more) off. However, don’t completely shut yourself off. Sitting home alone isn’t healthy either. Decide what activities you can reasonably manage. And if you think things may become too difficult, have an escape plan. Knowing you have the option to leave at any time will allow you to feel more comfortable.
Start a New Tradition
Ultimately, sticking to the same-old seasonal routine may be too painful. Therefore, if it makes sense for you, switch things up. Maybe order Chinese take-out instead of fixing a formal holiday meal? Or take a mini vacation with friends or family to give yourself a change of scenery?
Do Something for Others
Performing acts of kindness can nourish your spirit. Make a donation in your loved one’s name, buy special gifts for a family in need or volunteer at your favorite charity. This is a wonderful way to remind yourself that, despite being sad, YOU still have something to offer to the world.
Ask for Help
Very few people successfully manage grief alone, so reach out. Call your doctor or ask someone to refer you to a trusted therapist. Also, consider joining a support group. Being around others who genuinely understand what you are going through allows you to better navigate your emotions.
Remember It’s OK to Feel Happy
Hopefully, at some point during the holidays, you’ll find yourself laughing or experiencing a moment of joy. DON’T feel guilty. This doesn’t diminish how much you love and miss the person who isn’t there. In fact, most likely, they would be thrilled to see you having a good time.
Do You (or Someone You Know) Need Help Coping with Loss During the Holidays?
Anodyne places trusted home care aides with families across Eastern Massachusetts. If you need someone who can provide companionship, assist around the house or just make the holiday season easier, we have solutions. Learn more about all the home care services Anodyne offers today!