The holiday season is approaching. Typically this is a time to celebrate with friends and family and embark on traditions that occur year after year. However, for someone who is grieving over a loss, the typical customs with friends and family can trigger more devastation than joy. Listed below are ways that an individual can try to cope with grief throughout the holidays.
- Put yourself first. The holiday season is about spending time with your loved ones and giving to others. However, if you are going through a state of grief, it is important to look after yourself first and foremost. Treat yourself to a massage, start reading a new book, join an exercise class, splurge on a meal in a fancy restaurant, or visit the coffee shop you have always driven by. It is important to keep yourself happy and healthy during this troubling time.
- Make new traditions. As each year accumulates, activities with friends and family become ritual. This year, suggest something new to your family and friends. Maybe it’s a new game, a night of baking cookies, a new Thanksgiving dish, or a New Year’s Eve diner trip. If you start to focus on positive changes with friends and family, the new activities will become memorable as well.
- Remember the good memories. As you make new traditions, it could still be beneficial for you to remember the good times. If you visit with friends and family, listen to their funny stories about the person you miss. Keeping the conversation upbeat will help you cope with grief in a positive environment.
- Don’t always agree to join. If you’re feeling too overwhelmed to join some friends and family during a time of grief, don’t force yourself to go. People go through grief in different ways, so maybe being surrounded by large groups of people during the holiday season isn’t right for you. Don’t feel pressured to say yes to every event, but go to the ones that matter the most to you.
- Reach out for help. Put in a good effort to stay connected with friends and family during a time of loss. With all of the rush and hype of the holidays, you can start to feel more isolated when you are going through grief. Therefore, it is important for you to stay in touch with people who matter to you. Invite a friend to get coffee, stay in with a family member for a movie, or host a small gathering for a game night. Nothing has to be extravagant, it’s simply a way to stay connected with those who are your biggest supporters.
The holiday season is full of traditions, memories, events, and more. By taking care of yourself, creating new memories, and reaching out when you need a hand, you can better cope with the holidays.