How to Cope With Grief Through the Holidays

Posted: Oct 16 2017

Coping with loss through the holidays presents a very difficult time, one that's especially more trying because of the significance and memories the holidays bring. Sadness, depression, and a general feeling of heaviness are common. The shorter days can lead to vitamin D deficiencies, which also contributes to feelings of depression.

At Willowgreen, we understand grief and the holidays and have a collection of books, DVDs, and other resources to help with overcoming grief. For help with how to cope with grief, shop our selection today.

Here are some of the ways you can cope with grief and the holidays.

Set Realistic Expectations for Yourself

Take the time you need. If you find that you're having a hard time making it to a holiday party or church service because it's expected of you, exercise patience. Allow yourself to take the time to nurture yourself, whether it's alone or in the company of close friends or family. While you might want to set a deadline or expectation of yourself this season, be patient if you're unable to make it happen. Take this time to take care of yourself.

Set Realistic Expectations for Others

Continuing holiday traditions, whether it's a trip to the Christmas tree farm or a gathering, will be difficult the first year or more. These might be painful for the coming years. Talk to friends and family ahead of time and let them know how you feel about continuing old traditions. Let them know that while you might want to attend at this moment, a few weeks from now, you might change your mind. If you would like to request a special prayer or another type of remembrance, ask how that can be included in the gathering.

Do Things That Serve Your Needs

Many of your friends and family are going to want to help you this season, and while you probably appreciate their intentions, you might not want to face certain situations. If you're in need of one-on-one time more than you need social time at a larger gathering, give yourself permission to decline invitations. And if you feel that you can't go to a function last minute, give yourself permission to take that time for yourself instead.

Allow Yourself to Grieve

Everybody experiences loss differently. If laughter or crying or solitude is what you need on your path to overcoming grief, let yourself do those things. Feeling guilt over having a good time is common, but just because you're having a good time doesn't mean you've forgotten or gotten over the loss of your loved one.

Avoid Self-Medicating

Alcohol flows a little more freely during the holidays, and this presents an issue for those who are emotionally vulnerable. Where some don't turn to alcohol, others might uncharacteristically drink more than they usually would. Find other ways to work through emotions, such as journaling, therapy, exercising, or a hobby.

Do What Feels Natural

Whether you want to make your loved one's favorite dish or exclude it altogether, there is no wrong or right choice. And the same goes with putting out their stocking or trying something new this year. Go with your gut and allow yourself to do what you want to do.

For more on how to cope with grief through the holidays, read our book How Will I Get Through the Holidays? 12 Ideas for Those Whose Loved Ones Has Died by James E. Miller.

Shop Willowgreen today.


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