Is this your first holiday season without your mom, grandpa, or other loved one? If so, it may be harder to find joy this Christmas and New Years. While dealing with grief during the holidays isn’t fun, you can do several things to alleviate the pain as you go through the motions.
Here, we’ve compiled some of our best practices to help you deal with grief during the holidays:
Get in the right mindset. How you handle your grief during this season will largely depend on your mindset. Acknowledge this year will be different, and allow yourself to lean into any feelings that may come up. Don’t hide from your grief this season.
Adjust your traditions. If you’ve recently lost a loved one, you need to think about how that will make your normal holiday traditions different. Decide if you’re going to change those practices or carry on with the rest of your family. Sometimes, people decide it’s too painful to continue while others find comfort in the familiarity. Either way is perfectly fine, but you should decide before the festivities begin so you’re more mentally prepared.
Honor their memory. This is probably the hardest task, but also the most rewarding. To deal with your grief during the holidays, we recommend choosing at least one way to commemorate your lost one. Some ideas include: donating to a charity on their behalf, creating a memorial Christmas ornament to hang on the tree, or incorporating their favorite dish into the holiday feast.
Seek help. Sometimes, no matter what we try, we just need help. If that’s the case, don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to admit it. Schedule an appointment with your doctor or therapist and be honest about what you’ve been feeling. They may recommend talk therapy, medication, or both.
Dealing with grief during the holidays is never fun, but with these tips, you can begin the healing process in a healthy, holistic way. If you need more coping mechanisms, check out our online grief guide or our new cooking therapy page.