Dealing with death during the holiday season
Posted on November 21, 2017
With Thanksgiving coming up, and the winter holidays right around the corner, this time of year is a time for celebration, family, and joy. Yet, for those who have recently lost a loved one, the holiday season can be a painful reminder of their loss.
If you are struggling with grief, know that you are not alone. We have comprised a few helpful strategies to help you make it through any holiday you may be celebrating.
First of all, remember to practice self-care. This is a sensitive time, so be gentle with yourself. Know your limits and pay attention to your emotional needs. Angela Morrow, RN of Very Well offers some sound advice:
“Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is your feeling. Don’t fall prey to the belief that you have to feel a certain way or do certain things in order for your holiday to be “normal.” If you feel sad, then allow the tears to come; if you feel angry, then allow yourself to vent some steam."
If you and your deceased loved one had a particular ritual or tradition that you used to share, consider honoring their memory by altering that ritual or creating a new tradition. You could make your loved one’s favorite recipe, or decorate an ornament in their honor. These rituals could become an important part of the healing process.
You could also consider volunteering and helping out the community. Studies show that depression decreases when we give to those in need. We feel a sense of purpose and importance, while taking our minds off of our grief. Another option is redirecting a meaningful gift to someone in need in honor of your loved one. If your loved one was passionate about animals, for instance, you could donate to an animal shelter in their name. Knowing that their legacy will continue to positively impact others can be deeply powerful.
Finally, do not forget to reach out to others if you need support. Many of us share the same feelings of grief and loss during the holiday season, and opening up to one another can help all of us heal. If you aren’t comfortable speaking with family or friends, you can always search for a grief or bereavement support group nearby. Allow yourself to develop your own grieving process, and know that you are never alone.