While grief is certainly never easy, we’ve heard from many who have lost a loved one that the holiday season can be particularly difficult.
The coping techniques that work for you are likely to shift during this season, and in the years to come. The caring team at Science Care is here to share tips for coping this time of year:
The holiday season can magnify your feelings of grief, both in positive and negative ways. It’s important to recognize your grief and give yourself space to feel. Some find that writing out the emotions they experience as a way to help them manage the complexities of their grief.
The holidays bring with them a number of expectations, both internal and external. It’s important that you honor your own boundaries in both situations. Recognize when it’s important to take space for yourself, and don’t be afraid to say no to things that may be too much for you.
There is a certain comfort that comes from the practice of time-honored traditions, and this can be a meaningful way to carry the memory of your loved on with you. Whether that is decorating for Christmas after the Thanksgiving meal, baking sugar cookies for your neighbors, or watching a favorite Christmas movie on Christmas Eve, it can be helpful to make space for these practices.
For some people, practicing old holiday traditions feels strange or is simply too painful. Some find that establishing new traditions is healing and even cathartic after loss. Consider taking time to think through alternative traditions you can start in this new season of life and remember that new memories don’t erase the old ones.
It’s normal for the holiday season to bring with it some stress and pressure. There are meals to prepare, parties to attend, decorations to put up, people to shop for, and holiday cards to send out. When you add grief to the mix, it’s easy for the extra tasks to be too much to bear. Be sure to reach out to those around you, even a trusted therapist or medical professional, if you need support.
Even in the best of times, the holiday season is not always as merry as we would hope for it to be. Loss adds a complicated layer to this time of year. Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to approach this time of year, only what is best for you.