Dealing with Grief through the Holidays

Dealing with Grief through the Holidays

Grieving the demise of someone close to our hearts is a deep and difficult experience at any time. The experience becomes harder to deal with during the holidays. The season can intensify your sense of loss and mourning. Family gatherings and seasonal events can trigger memories associated to the loved one who passed away. At the same time, the holidays can also give a sense of comfort. Spending time with family and friends, and creating good memories recaptures your sense of joy. This year, if you are mourning the loss of a loved one, here are some things to help you survive the holiday season:


1. Don’t push yourself.

Only do what feels right. Do not obligate yourself to participate in anything that feels “too much” for you. Choose the activities, traditions or events you can handle. Remember, grieving takes time. You are presently at a vulnerable state. Do not worry about resisting invitations. People understand more than you think but make sure you decline politely.


2. Accept your feelings.

Everyone handles grief differently. Some strive to avoid sad feelings while others cry it off. In the same way, some people join the festivities to drown away their sorrow while others shy away from the festivities. However you feel, accept it. Accept the inevitable ups and downs. You may feel peaceful at one point and depressed the next. Acknowledge that your feelings are normal for someone who is grieving. Staying in tune with your highest truth can help you get through the holiday season without judging yourself.


3. Talk about your feelings.

Talk to your family and friends about how you feel. Be honest about how you’d like to celebrate the holidays. If you want to talk about those who passed away, then do so. But first, let others know it is okay. Seek out support groups, lectures or community events that provide assistance for people dealing with loss. You may also seek the professional help of a therapist. If you live far away from your loved ones, get in touch with them through social media or other means of communication.


4. Focus on your kids.

The holidays place special attention on children and when you are struggling with loss, it helps to focus on their needs. Be aware that your choices do not only affect you. If you are a parent, they also affect your children. If you withdraw from celebrating the season, they may not understand why. Perhaps you can hold some of your family rituals that are most important to your kids. However, if you reach your limit, calmly excuse yourself and ask your spouse or a relative to take over your children.


5. Make plans ahead of time.

Sometimes the anticipation is harder to handle than the actual holiday festivities. Instead of busying yourself with tons of chores and responsibilities weeks before the holiday season, try to delegate them and indulge yourself in comforting activities. New activities might be fun to try but familiar traditions might be more comforting. Do whatever feels best for you.


6. Scale back.

The holiday activities may feel overwhelming. Do not hesitate to cut back. For instance, you may opt to put up minimal decorations at home and take a break from sending personalized greeting cards. You can send out e-greetings instead. You can also limit holiday parties to small gatherings only with your closest friends and family. Scale back. Do only whatever feels safe and comfortable to you. Create realistic expectations and be gentle with yourself.


7. Give to others.

In times of grief, one of the best sources of comfort is sharing. Our emotions can “paralyze” us but going out there and making a difference can really help you deal with loss better. Shopping for gifts may be a challenge most especially if you don’t want to leave your home. Thanks to technology, you can continue the gift-giving tradition by ordering online.


Another great way to share is purchasing something that symbolizes the person who passed away and donating it to someone in need. You may also make a donation in a loved one’s name to a charity or cause that he or she valued.


Negative circumstance may surround the loss you experience. If this is the case, it is easy to fall into sadness or anger. Channel your energies in positive ways rather than perpetuating negativity. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or retirement homes. Share your time and talents to make the world a better place.


8. Commemorate those who have passed away.

Remembering those who passed on can be helpful. Here are some ideas to consider: lighting candles for them, talking about them, dedicating a service to them, planting a tree, making a card, writing a letter, displaying their picture or placing an item of theirs among your holiday decorations.


9. Do something new.

Acknowledge that things are no longer the same. Indeed, the holiday will not be the same without your loved one who passed away. Accepting this can help you manage expectations. Plan new activities, especially during the first year after the loss. Select a new venue for family celebrations. Change the menu or go out to eat. Volunteer, invite friends over or go on a trip. Create new memories. Many families return to their usual routines after the first year, but there are also some who continue their new traditions.


10. Skip it.

If you feel that celebrating the holidays will be too much for you, just opt out of participating in the festivities. Let your family and friends know. Instead, plan comforting activities for yourself and let your loved ones know what you will be doing so they can check in on you.


If you have tried these ten steps and still feel angry or depressed, it is time to give hypnosis a try. It is an excellent help for grieving because the techniques are able to teach you how you can consciously decide how to react to your loss. Your mind is quite powerful – more powerful than your emotions, actually, and changing its thought patterns can help you release your negative emotions like anger and sadness. As a result, you will be able to function normally and look back to memories shared without getting “paralyzed” by grief. Call 262-264-0214 today and schedule your free consultation. You may also send me a message at

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