Grief and any feelings of loss about someone we love is the toughest during the holiday season. Grief and the grieving process are different for every individual. Here are some helpful suggestions that may just help you get through the holidays and may help you move forward in the grieving process of Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.
-Do things to remember your loved one. Make a donation to a meaningful charity, volunteer your time or talents in either your loved one’s or your favorite organization or charity in their memory.
-Make time for yourself. Taking care of yourself (physically and emotionally) is very important. Some days will be tough so take time to recharge yourself. Take a day away in reflection while you do something that brings you relaxation (i.e.: take a walk, get a manicure and pedicure, go to the library, get a massage, go to movie). Take time for yourself when you need it, but don’t isolate yourself from everyone that cares. Isolation may cause cause the feelings of grief to intensify.
-Give yourself permission to say “no”. People try to help by inviting you to events or dinners, which is thoughtful. Don’t feel obligated to say yes to everything – make sure you do what is right for you. Some people wear themselves out by staying busy to avoid or ignore the feelings about the loss. If you need rest – rest.
-Change some holiday traditions. Don’t change everything all at once, but give yourself permission to make new traditions. Some ideas may be to attend Christmas services or go to Christmas events you have not attended before, prepare new dishes for dinners, or add new decorations.
-Do something for others. Help a family in need of gifts or food or help serve dinners at a church or shelter. Giving to others is a great way to get out of ourselves and improve our emotional state.
– Express your feelings. Talk to a religious leader or therapist or write in a journal. There are some Grief Support Groups you can attend online or in person that will remind you that you are not alone when it comes to the feelings of loss and grief. If you express and talk about your feelings or things that help you to cope with loss, you may find yourself helping someone else move forward in their grief or you may learn something to help you.
Death of a loved one is never easy no matter the time of year. All we can do is take steps forward to take care of ourselves for our family and friends.