The loss of a loved one hits us hard sometimes. It can take days, weeks, months, or even years to be completely okay. For some, grief only hits when it’s time for the holidays; Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and others that may have been celebrated together. Many wish they could skip the grieving process altogether, but unfortunately, we can’t.
Cosmopolitan Funerals which offers funeral services in Sydney said that Grief is complicated and is unique from person to person. Over time, accepting the loss becomes easier, but it may also be carried with us forever. During the holidays, when we’re all gathering with our families and friends, it’s supposed to be a happy time, not a time where grief takes over our joy.
If you or somebody you know are grieving during the holidays, here are some tips that may be helpful in your journey to get through this particularly painful period.
Coping With Grief During The Holidays
Before anything else, you have to acknowledge that the first holiday season is the most difficult. Preparing by making a specific plan and getting the support you need will help immensely.
Don’t participate in anything that’s going to make your emotions run wild. If you don’t want to go to a party, don’t. If you don’t want to go to a holiday show, you don’t have to. Remember to keep your wants and needs in the back of your mind so you can identify when you’re ready to participate in family events again.
It may be wise to commit to something that may be fun while reminding yourself that you don’t have to stay for the whole event. You can choose to skip something altogether. You should find a clear balance between engaging and not pushing yourself.
Allow Yourself To Feel Emotions
Each person has their own unique grief experiences. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve. You can experience joy and laughter during your time of grief. This doesn’t mean you have forgotten about your loved one.
You should also turn to your family for support if you need it. Share memories with them. This can serve as a source of comfort to the bereaved. Look at photo albums, tell stories, and share happy memories.
Create A New Tradition
Some people find it comforting to honor traditions, while others find it too painful to handle. You can talk it over with your family to see what activities can be incorporated with family time. You can add new rituals and traditions such as:
- Creating a memory box
- Lighting a candle in honor of your loved one
- Place commemorative ornaments on the Christmas tree
- Play a loved one’s favorite game or music
- Make a meal that was your loved one’s favorite
- Announce beforehand that somebody else will carve the Turkey or Ham
- Put something on the table in memory of your loved one
- Light a candle in their honor
After you’ve lost a loved one, a certain role may need to be filled. If this is the case, you need to think ahead to consider who will want to fill the vacant role.
Maybe your loved one always put the star on top of the tree, or they lead Christmas carols, or they always cut the turkey. Planning ahead can ensure that you avoid unnecessary moments of grief from the sudden realization that your loved one can no longer fill that role.
Identify Coping Skills
Before the holiday seasons even begin, you should sit down and make a list of coping skills to use whether you’re at home or at a social gathering. This will come in handy if grief hits you unexpectedly.
You could listen to music, practice yoga, take a walk, take deep breaths, write your thoughts down in a journal, or even just say positive affirmations that are balanced. Use these skills before any event that reminds you of your loved one.
Ask For Help
There’s no shame in asking for help. It’s important to get help from friends, family, and professionals if it’s needed. Whether you’ve lost a close relative or even a friend, the holidays can bring up a lot of emotions.
This is completely normal and it can help immensely to talk to a therapist or psychologist if you don’t feel comfortable turning to friends or family.
Honor Traditions and Memories
If you don’t want to feel like your loved one’s memory has completely vanished, you can honor their traditions and memories. If they liked to play a certain game on Christmas Eve, play that game with your family.
If they enjoyed a certain type of food on Thanksgiving, cook it. You can even leave their spot at the head of the table open.
Turn Grief into Emotions
As aforementioned, grief doesn’t just go away during the holidays, it may actually get worse. It’s important to recognize how you’re feeling not avoid it. You can feel both negative and positive emotions during the holidays when you’re grieving, and that’s completely normal. It’s okay to miss a person and enjoy the holidays at the same time.
You may also be tempted to numb the pain with drugs or alcohol during this time, but it’s not okay. If you can learn to anticipate difficult emotions and prepare ahead of time, this can greatly help prevent negative consequences from happening.
Do Something Charitable
Helping others can help calm your sadness by bringing joy to somebody else who needs it. This is a fantastic way to get your mind off the grief.
Volunteer for the Salvation Army, donate to a food bank, help at the soup kitchen, or volunteer at a homeless shelter. All of these things can help make you feel better by knowing you’re positively impacting somebody else’s life.
Grief hits us all differently and that’s normal. Some choose to grieve in silence while others find comfort in their friends and family. It’s important to remember that your sadness can transfer to somebody else who may also be missing their loved one.
If you think this may happen, don’t attend a certain event. Make a plan to ease your grief and don’t be afraid to talk to somebody, even if it’s a professional if you just can’t seem to cope with the loss of a loved one.