Dealing With Grief During the Holidays

The holiday season can be extremely difficult when you are grieving the loss of a loved one. Holiday music, traditions and celebrations can all bring up painful reminders and memories of your loss and special times shared with your loved one in the past. Here are some tips that may help you cope with your grief during this holiday season.

1. Create new traditions.
It may be helpful to start new traditions such as going out to dinner instead of cooking at home; make plans with friends.

2. Set boundaries.
If you feel as though certain gatherings or events will be too painful to endure, then be willing to say no. It is important that you set these healthy boundaries and know that it is ok to not please others.

3. Find a way to honor your memories.
You may want to honor your loved one by lighting a candle at a holiday dinner or gathering; reserving a chair for your loved one at the table; and/or serving your loved one’s favorite food.

4. Acts of kindness.
Doing something kind for others can provide comfort to a grieving heart.

5. Allow yourself to grieve and to feel your emotions.
It is important to allow yourself to feel the difficult emotions that are a part of the grieving process. It is also important to express your needs to others and to practice self-care. You need to allow yourself time to grieve. Grief will continue to change, and the holidays will become less painful over time.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you feel as though you need more support as you grieve, please contact your Brown Medicine medical provider and/or social worker for assistance, resources or support.

Kerri Kelley, LICSW