Coping with Loss During the Holiday Season
The holidays can be an incredibly difficult time to navigate grief and loss. While many are overjoyed to see the holiday season in full effect, it is not uncommon for those who are grieving to enter this time with an accompanying sense of fear or dread. They may be concerned as to how they will get through holiday parties, shopping, and workplace festivities while navigating the pain that comes with grief. Remember: Every grieving process is personal, and each unique experience is deserving of attention and respect. There is no time limit on grief, and there should be no expectation to “get over it” or to ignore it.
Here’s What You Can Do
If you are wondering how to handle your grief during this emotionally charged season, you are not alone. The most important thing you can do is allow your process to unfold and take care of yourself as you move through it.
Here are 5 tips to consider when you are grieving during the holidays:
- Trust that grief is part of healing and accept that the holidays may be different for you as you navigate your pain. Allowing yourself to feel and experience the emotions that come with grief, rather than trying to hide or escape them, helps you to heal. Working with pain instead of against it is less damaging in the long run, and this is an important ongoing reminder. Remember: Alcohol is a depressant, so even if it sounds like a good idea and subdues pain at first, it can often exacerbate it long term.
- Practice self-care through setting boundaries and making time for yourself to reset your energy. This may look like scheduling time to exercise, taking a walk if an environment is overwhelming, taking a hot bath or shower after an event, or sitting down with a journal to write out your feelings. Remember: You can say no to a social gathering if you do not want to go. Your mental health is your priority right now.
- Help others by volunteering, feeding the homeless, creating gifts for children who are in the hospital or even walking dogs at a local shelter. Giving back in a time of sadness can lift your spirits, and you can honor your loss by giving compassionately. Remember: The best way to feel love is to offer it, and it is okay to experience the joy of giving in a time of grief.
- Focus on what you can control so that you are not overwhelmed. Although you will be subjected to the holiday hustle and bustle, you do not have to participate. If you do not want to put up decorations or listen to music, that is okay. Surround yourself with what you want and what you can handle. Remember: Creating a safe space to grieve is your right.
- Ask for help from your family and friends, such as food preparation, decorating help, company on the day-of, or clearing out triggering things from your environment. Your family and friends are here to help you get through the holidays, if you let them. If you feel you need more specialized and focused support, seeking professional mental health care might be beneficial to you. Remember: Help is available, and you deserve it.
Mental Health Services in Northern California
If you are struggling with the grieving process and feel worried that you cannot move through your loss in a healthy way, we can help. We understand that not all grief is managed the same, and sometimes you need the support from therapists, psychologists or possibly inpatient treatment providers in order to find balance. Our compassionate team is available to help you learn ways to handle the hard days and push through the holiday season toward a
Contact our office at (530) 899-3150 to speak with one of our team members today.