You’re Not Alone
Tips for managing grief during the holidays.
The holidays, although filled with family, friends and celebrations, can be a stressful time of year under usual circumstances. But when you are managing grief, it can be particularly challenging.
It is important to remember that everyone experiences grief differently and that it’s a normal, human reaction to the loss of a person. It is common and reasonable to experience anxiety, stress, sadness, regret, anger or isolation as part of the grieving process.
This holiday season, take the time to acknowledge any grief in your life and use these tips to support yourself and your loved ones:
Acknowledge that the holidays will be different and they may be emotionally difficult.
Remember those you have lost and find creative ways of remembering them on Christmas day. For example, light a memorial candle for them at the dinner table.
Be honest. Tell people what you do and don’t want to do for the holidays. Listen to yourself, trust yourself, communicate with your family, and do what works for you.
Decide which traditions you want to keep. Decide which traditions you want to change. Maybe create a new tradition in memory of your loved one.
It’s okay to admit you are struggling with your grief, and it’s okay to say YES to people who want to help and offer their support.
Practice Self Care
Make efforts towards mindfulness, a healthy lifestyle and stress management. For some, this may be meditating for 15 minutes every morning or going for a brisk walk and for others getting a massage is helpful.
Be understanding and supportive if someone wants to do things differently this holiday season. Remember that not everyone will be grieving the same way you are grieving.
Hustle and Bustle
Don’t feel guilty about skipping events. If you need to take some time to yourself instead of attending events, make sure you let the organiser know that you’re not feeling up to it and make an effort to see them when you’re feeling better.
It’s Okay To Not Be Happy
Finding happiness and enjoying the holidays does not diminish how much you love and miss the person who isn’t there this holiday. Don’t feel guilty for the joy you do find this holiday season.
It’s important to remember that we are all different and grieve in our own ways. Don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable – you are the one grieving and need time to do that. If you need support our counsellors are available to Waipuna Hospice patients and their families, Monday – Friday, excluding public holidays. Alternatively, you can free-call or text 1737 at any time. 1737 is a free service for anyone who needs to talk to a counsellor.
This article was first published in our Waipuna Connections Newsletter, issue 78.