Coping with Holiday Grief

At holiday time, many people are dealing with loss and are often caught in a dilemma between the need to grieve and the pressure to get into the spirit of the season. Holidays or not, it is important for the bereaved to find ways to take care of themselves. The following guidelines may be helpful:

1. Plan ahead as to where and how you will spend your time during the holidays. Let yourself scale back on activities if you want to. Redefine your holiday expectations. This can be a transition year to begin new traditions and let others go.

2. Select a candle in your loved one's favorite color and scent. Light it at a significant time throughout the holidays, signifying the light of the love that lives on in your heart.

3. Give yourself permission to express your feelings. If you feel an urge to cry, let the tears flow. Tears are healing. Scientists have found that our tears are natural pain relievers.

4.Write an “un-sent letter” to your loved one expressing what you are honestly feeling toward him or her at this moment.

  1. When you are especially missing your loved one, call family members or dear friends and share your feelings.

    6. Decorating the memorial site can be helpful in remembering and celebrating your loved one's life during the holidays, and may free you to cherish the present holiday with your remaining family.

    7. Play music that is comforting and meaningful to you.

8. Read grief material. Some suggestions are: Don't Take My Grief Away From Me by Doug Manning; The Comfort Book For Those Who Mourn compiled by Anna Trimiew; and A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis.

9. Remember the reality that the anticipation of the holidays without your family member is often harder than the actual holidays themselves

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