Mental Health

Coping with Grief During the Holidays

Experts on grief typically stress that everyone grieves in their own way, and it’s okay to accept and respect whatever feelings you may have.

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How do we cope with grief and missing people and holiday traditions from seasons past that are no longer in our lives? Experts on grief typically stress that everyone grieves in their own way, and it’s okay to accept and respect whatever feelings you may have.

Below are some suggestions to assist you in managing your grief during the holiday season:

  1. Plan to do only what is special and meaningful to you.
  2. Don’t stifle emotions. Set aside time to experience sadness and anger.
  3. Be truthful about your feelings when asked.
  4. Don’t be afraid to tell family members that certain traditions will be too hard.
  5. Decide if and/or how you want to honor your loved one. Plant a tree, pass along an heirloom to a family member, volunteer in your loved one’s name, write notes and put in stocking to remember and reminisce.
  6. Share memories with family and friends. Embrace the laughter and tears.
  7. Don’t feel guilty if you enjoy yourself. Parties can be exhausting; however, if you do decide to go, let yourself have a good time.
  8. Grief is a physical experience for children. Lighting candles, drawing pictures, decorating photos, making food, or contributing in some way to the overall ritual can be helpful.
  9. Bring some Christmas into your line of sight, even if it’s just something small.
  10. Seek help from a professional. If your feelings are too intense and affecting your ability to function, a professional counselor can offer great support and assistance.

You may be tempted to skip the holidays or declare your home will be without celebration this year. Don’t succumb.

You can pass up on the extras of the holidays, but don’t miss the promise of the season.

Article Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Ann earned a Master of Arts in professional counseling, with a concentration in trauma counseling, from Richmont Graduate University (formerly Psychological Studies Institute) and BS from University of Tennessee. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). Ann is experienced in assisting clients who are dealing with trauma, a variety of mood disorders, grief, depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties, and transitions.

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