How to Cope with Grief & Loss During the Holidays

| By Casa de la Luz

The holidays can be an especially difficult time for those who have experienced the death of a loved one. It is a time that emphasizes family and loved ones, and can be full of memories, traditions, and family heirlooms. In addition to the joy that seems to fill the season, it can also be a busy and stressful time. It seems like there is just more to do during the holidays. If you are struggling with grief this season, keep these things in mind.

Look for ways to reduce your stress level. Make your gift shopping easier by doing it online or via a catalog. Don’t push yourself to attend every holiday function. It’s OK to say, “Thank you for the invitation, but I won’t be able to attend this weekend.” Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family, and be honest about what you feel up to doing. If you aren’t up to making Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas morning brunch, ask another family member to take over one of the meals or turn it into a potluck.

It may be hard to face an old tradition without your loved one. Allow yourself to create new traditions. Know that it is OK to do something differently. Your life has changed, and your traditions can reflect that. Take some time to sit down with your family members and go over your holiday traditions and tasks. Can the responsibilities be divided? Are there tasks that you can let go of this year?

Seek opportunities to honor your loved one’s life and memory. Perhaps you might light a candle in their honor, or you can make a special ornament to hang on the tree for him/her. When your family is gathered around the dinner table, maybe each person would like to share a memory of the individual. Take this season as an opportunity for shared remembrance.

Compiled by Carrie Bui, Communications Specialist

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