How to Cope with Grief during the Holidays
The holidays can be stressful for anyone – you have to spend time with a lot of family you may not get along with, you spend an arm and a leg on gifts that people may not even like, and you are stretched in every direction to attend parties, dinners and other events. If you have lost a loved one, the holidays can be even worse. Seeing everyone else spend time with their families can make your loss seem more pronounced.
It is important that you take care of yourself during this time so that your grief does not become overwhelming. Here are a few things you can do to better cope with your grief during the holidays:
Let Yourself Have Your Feelings
Everyone else around you may be merry and bright, but you don’t have to be. Give yourself to have whatever feelings you are feeling, no matter how antithetical they are to the holiday spirit. Be sad if you feel sad. Be angry. Be jealous, resentful, disappointed, confused, lonely or anti-social. Allow yourself to feel those feelings so you can move through them instead of get trapped by them.
By acknowledging your feelings, you can also make the best decisions to take care of yourself during this time. So if you know you are feeling sad and angry about the loss of your child, you may decide that you don’t want to be around people with children. Or if you know that you are feeling lonely, you may decide that being around a lot of friends and family will do you good. Honor your feelings so that you can help yourself through this difficult time.
Create New Traditions
Traditions can intensify our grief. They remind us that we are doing something we used to love without the person we used to love doing it with. It becomes hard to enjoy the tradition, and without the tradition, it becomes hard to enjoy the holiday.
You can manage this by creating new traditions. Instead of baking cookies with your grandmother the week before Christmas every year, maybe now you do that with your daughter to start passing the tradition to the next generations. Or maybe you start making a holiday craft instead of the sweet treats. Instead of snuggling up on the couch on Christmas Eve to watch a movie in your jammies, maybe you go out to the movies instead or you schedule a family game night.
At first, your holidays won’t feel the same without those old traditions, but over time, you will start to feel the same about the new traditions as you did the old ones. And you won’t be reminded of your loss when you enjoy them.
Ask for Help
Your friends and family will know about your loss, and they are more than likely happy to be there to support you. Give them a call or shoot them an email or a text to let them know what you need. Meet for a coffee and a chat, or just spend time together doing something fun to take your mind off things. Let them know what you need, and give them the chance to support you. They love you, and they want to help. Let them.
You should also reach out for help from a grief support counselor or support group. A counselor can help you work through your feelings and develop positive coping strategies to make it through the holidays. A support group can help you connect with others who are going through some of the same things you are, which can validate what you are feeling and can give you ideas for how to manage.
Americare Hospice and Palliative Care in Mesa, Arizona provides grief support services for those who are struggling during the holidays and throughout the year. We offer individual and group counseling sessions, as well as resources like a lending library of books about grief and a directory of national resources. We also host periodic seminars about grief recovery. We not only provide hospice care in Phoenix for patients, but also support services for their caretakers and loved ones. Call us today to learn more about our grief support services in Arizona or to explore our hospice care treatment options.
Americare Hospice and Palliative Care
1212 N. Spencer St., Suite #2
Mesa, Arizona 85203
Office: (480) 726-7773
Fax: (480) 726-7790
Email: [email protected]