Holiday music, festive parties and decorations that are meant to bring joy can also often bring sorrow.
Here are a few tools that can help you navigate your grief this holiday season:
Give yourself time. The grieving process doesn’t just end after a certain set-amount of time. Give yourself the permission to work through your grief.
Set healthy boundaries. With holiday parties, events with friends and coworkers, and school events for children and grandchildren, your calendar is never as busy as it is during the holiday season. You certainly don’t have to force yourself to attend every celebratory event and celebrate every tradition. If you feel like a certain event or celebration will bring back painful memories, it’s okay to send your best wishes and not attend.
Create a new tradition. The holidays are a great time to take a moment to remember those we’ve lost. Light a candle. Share a memory. Cook or eat a special dish in memory of your loved one. Creating a special moment that can be repeated each year can help you feel more connected to those you’ve lost.
Find support. Sharing your feelings is often the best way to get through them and finding people you can talk to will help. Friends and relatives can be a great support during times of grief. Another good option is to look for a grief support group. You can search online or check with local churches, community centers, funeral homes, or a hospice to find a group that suits you. Support group members often make friends that end up being a source of comfort and care for many years to come.
Help someone else. It may also help to volunteer through a charitable or religious organization. Make a donation to a favorite cause in memory of the person who died.
Holidays are clearly some of the roughest terrain we navigate after a loss. The ways we handle them are as individual as we are. What is vitally important is that we be present for the loss.
This article first appeared in the December 2019 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.