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How to Deal with Grief Over the Holidays

The holiday season, often bringing about joy and togetherness, can be difficult for those who are currently grieving the loss of a loved one. At Lenity Light Hospice, we understand that the holidays may amplify feelings of sorrow and loss, especially since these times bring up cherished memories. Here are some strategies to help you navigate the holiday season while addressing your grief and finding moments of peace. Remember, life still has so much to offer, and with the right strategies, you can make peace with yourself and your loss.

Little Girl with Her Grandparents

1. Acknowledge Your Feelings

This is the first step to dealing with any strong and difficult emotion. Whether that be anger, depression, or anxiety, one must first acknowledge their feelings in order to deal with them. It’s important to recognize and accept your emotions, especially if they are affecting your day-to-day life. The holidays may bring a mix of sadness, anger, and even moments of joy. Allow yourself to feel whatever comes up without judgment. There is no shame in being happy during these times. You are allowed to still feel moments of joy while grieving. Remember, it’s also okay to cry and miss your loved one.

2. Set Realistic Expectations

My older sister always gave me this piece of advice whenever I had high expectations for a particular event. She said, “Remember to set realistic expectations or lower them because if your expectations are high, you are more likely to be disappointed if it is not everything you wished for it to be.” The holiday season is not going to feel the same, especially with your loved one not being present. Remember, to have realistic expectations for the holidays and be prepared for things to feel different.

You don’t have to attend every event or maintain every family tradition if it hurts you at that moment. It’s okay to take a break from them if your mental health needs to. Choose the activities that you find comforting and skip those that feel overwhelming. Communicate your needs to family and friends so they understand your limits.

3. Create New Traditions

Consider creating new traditions that honor your loved one. This could be lighting a candle, sharing stories, or having a special meal in their memory. New rituals can provide comfort and a sense of continuity. It can also help honor your loved one by doing something in their memory.

Person Holding Black and White Disposable Lighter

4. Reach Out for Support

If you find your grief to be overwhelming and crippling, don’t be afraid to reach out for support. Remember, everyone deals with the journey of grief in different ways. If your grieving process prevents you from doing certain things that others don’t seem to struggle with, that is okay. You don’t have to go through this alone. Lean on friends, family, or support groups who understand your grief and help you. Sometimes, talking about your feelings with others who have experienced similar losses can be incredibly healing and helpful. Lenity Light also offers grieving and bereavement services that could help support you during this difficult time. Don’t be afraid to reach out to us. We are always here for you.

5. Practice Self-Care

Self-care is important, especially during difficult times like these. Take care of your physical and emotional needs. Ensure you get enough rest, eat nourishing foods, and engage in activities that bring you comfort, such as reading, walking, or listening to music. Self-care is crucial during this emotionally taxing time. Do what makes you feel like you’re loved.

6. Honor Your Loved One

Find ways to keep your loved one’s memory alive during the holidays. You might dedicate a special decoration to them, make a donation in their name, or write a letter expressing your thoughts and feelings. Honoring their memory can provide comfort and a sense of connection.

A Person Holding a Pen and a Piece of Paper

7. Be Kind to Yourself

Grief is a personal journey with no right or wrong way to process it. Remember that everyone’s journey with grief will be different. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself permission to grieve in your own way and at your own pace. It’s okay to say no to activities that feel too challenging. We are usually the harshest on ourselves. Don’t forget that you are only human and that the healing process takes time. Just like you would be kind to anyone else who is grieving, be kind to yourself, and take care of yourself. Don’t allow yourself to fall into a dark hole where the world seems to be lost and lose all its color. The colors of life will come back, and you will be happy again.

8. Seek Professional Help

If your grief feels overwhelming, consider seeking help from a professional counselor or therapist who specializes in grief and loss. These professionals can help you navigate your feelings and guide you through your journey of grief. Sometimes, an outside perspective can provide valuable coping strategies and support.

9. Stay Connected

Isolation can intensify feelings of grief. Make an effort to stay connected with loved ones, even if it’s through a phone call or virtual meeting. Navigating feelings of grief is difficult, and many people tend to isolate themselves in fear of being a burden to others or not knowing how to deal with hard emotions any other way. However, isolating yourself will only make the feelings more intense. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with others can provide comfort and reduce loneliness. Remember, you are not alone; there are people who love you and are more than happy to be there for you.

10. Allow Yourself to Feel Joy

Remember that it’s okay to experience moments of joy and laughter. Feeling happiness doesn’t diminish your love for the person you lost. Embrace these moments as part of the healing process.

At Lenity Light Hospice, we are here to support you through this difficult time. Our compassionate team is available to provide resources, counseling, and a listening ear. Please reach out to us for any concerns regarding bereavement services.

You don’t have to face this journey alone—together, we can find light in the darkness. Let us be your beacon of hope at Lenity Light Hospice.

Lighthouse During Golden Hour

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