Nothing like the holidays to bring front and center the absence of your loved one. We pulled together some tips to help you cope with grief during the holidays – whether you are missing your loved one who is no longer physically here or if you’re supporting your loved one grieving.
I lost my loved one:
> Feel all the feels. Happiness, anger, joy, sadness. Cry it out, laugh till it hurts. Allow yourself to grieve during the holidays, and make time to do so. Remember, enjoying yourself doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten your loved one. We all have our own grieving journeys – yours may look different from your other family members or friends and that is OK.
> Don’t force it. The holidays feel like a blur when we’re rushing about to fit every little thing into our schedule. Take it easy, don’t over extend yourself. You don’t owe anyone anything. If you don’t want to do something, don’t. Make sure you voice your opinion, it’s OK to say no and let go of any guilt around this.
> Self-care. Its easy to overindulge in libations and sweets during the holidays. The pain numbing and sugar highs are only temporary. Find activities that bring you joy and do more of that. Self-care can also mean asking for help when you need it.
> Create a new tradition. Old traditions might bring comfort or be painful. Decide which traditions you’d like to include or exclude each year. Consider incorporating a new tradition in honor of your loved one.
> Give back. This can take many forms from donating time, money or gifts. Maybe it is with your loved one’s favorite charity or maybe it is a part of the new tradition you create living your life after loss.
I’m supporting my loved one:
> Hold space + listen. Let your loved one know that you are there for them. Whether it is talking or just physically being with them. Remember, don’t diminish their experience with your own, really listen and hold space for your loved one.
> Lend a hand. It can be overwhelming for your loved one if you ask them how you can help. Don’t ask them specifics, just find ways you can help. This doesn’t have to be a grand gesture – maybe it is getting them out of the house for some coffee or watching their kids for the afternoon.
> Talk about the loved one. You don’t need to tip toe around the person’s existence. Talk about them, keep their spirit alive and share your favorite memories.
For more tips, check out all of the personal stories we’ve shared to support you on your grieving journey or so you can support your loved one grieving. If you want to share other tips or resources to this post, please email email@example.com for consideration.