Grief in the holiday season

“Grief is so human, and it hits everyone at one point or another, at least, in their lives. If you love, you will grieve, and that’s just given.” – Kay Redfield Jamison

T

he idea of celebrating the festive season and welcoming in the new year after losing a loved one, can be a sensitive time for those journeying through grief. For some the holiday season may seem like less of the joyous time that it was and become a more stressful and confusing time of the year.

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If you’re navigating your way through grief this holiday season, or supporting a loved one on their grief journey, we’ve taken the time to collate some handy and healthy tips for coping with grief during this season.

There’s no ‘right way’ to deal with grief and each person journeys through this season in their own unique way. It’s important to be mindful that the way you cope won’t necessarily be the same way as others and that’s okay.

Take time to reflect
Don’t forget to slow down and make time for reflection during the season. It’s valuable to have an understanding of how you may feel most comfortable navigating the season, this will give you a clearer vision of when to say yes or politely decline certain events.

Express and be open about how you feel
Don’t close off from family and friends during festivities, be open about how you’re feeling, the more they understand you the better they can support you.

Share in stories and memories of your loved one
The holiday season is a time of reflecting and sharing in beautiful memories, so why not share stories of your loved one with family and friends. They might even have fond memories of their own that they’d like to share with you.

Decide which traditions you want to keep and which you may want to let go of
It’s OK to let go of traditions that are too painful to continue with, just make sure you know which ones you’re comfortable with continuing.

Create new traditions in honour of your loved one
Create or incorporate new holiday traditions that honour the memory of you loves one. There are many different ways to do this, they could include cooking their favourite dish, playing their favourite game, visiting a place they loved or even donating to a charity they supported.

Allow yourself to have a good time
You’ll always feel a season of grief for your loved one, but don’t feel guilty about enjoying some time over the holiday season.

Join a support group
Being surrounded by like-minded people who are facing similar emotions over the Christmas season can be comforting. Sometimes it’s just nice to know that you’re not alone.

If you need someone to talk to, or just a comforting place to sit and reflect during the holiday season or any time of the year, we encourage you to visit our Centre for Care & Wellbeing.

The Centre for Care & Wellbeing is a warm, welcoming safe haven that provides support, guidance, friendship and understanding. All who visit here receive care and comfort in a calm and homely atmosphere, with the opportunity to meet others in similar circumstances.

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