Managing Grief During The Holiday Season

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By Kelli Barnes | November 20, 2017

It’s here. Holiday season is upon us. For some, it is a festive time to spend time with friends and family, potlucks, gift giving, and all around cheer. For others, it is a time of mourning, sadness, and reliving past memories. When you lose someone that you love, it is natural to become disinterested in celebrating holidays because those events tend to amplify your loss.

Even with the loss, it is plausible to have moments of peace and laughter. It is acceptable to allow yourself to feel a range of emotions, from sadness to joy. Feel free to allow yourself quiet instances of happiness. You can still honor your loved ones and accept the circumstances for what they are.

You are not alone in this situation. Talking about your experience may help you process the void in your life. It is important to stay connected. “It’s not unusual to feel sad, lonely or overwhelmed. But with the support of friends, family or a trained professional, you can and will get through the holidays. Instead of trying to avoid your grief, lean into it because grief is the way out of pain.”

Everyone deals with grief in a different manner. One way to cope could be to create new traditions. Making an intentional part of the day to honor your loved one would enable others to discuss the individual as well. Throughout the day, family and friends can share fond memories that can create conversation in a safe and positive way. Additionally having an exit plan might be beneficial. Consider driving to the holiday event alone. That way, you can control where you are and how long you will be there. If you feel overwhelmed, you can depart without interrupting the celebrations. Furthermore, volunteering or giving back could be another way to cope with grief. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer at a homeless shelter, nursing home, or animal shelter. The feeling of helping another in need can life your spirits. You can dedicate your time and efforts in honor of your loved one and reflect on what that service would mean to him or her.

In the words of Grief Watch “may you enjoy what you can enjoy, endure what you must endure, and leave the rest for another year.”

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