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How to Manage Grief During the Holidays

holding hands in thrapy

The holiday season can be especially hard after the loss of a loved one. This blog will discuss ways to manage grief during the holidays. Grief is an emotional response to loss, whether it is the death of a family member, pet, or anything else that has meaning to you. Grief can range from mild sadness to deep depression and may not always be obvious to others. 

It is normal for people who have lost someone they love to feel sad during the holidays. It’s also normal for them to feel guilty about their feelings and worry that they will upset other family members if they don’t “act right” or smile more than usual. It is not normal to feel like you are keeping your loved one alive by forcing yourself to be happy and enjoying their presence. If you are finding yourself feeling sad or guilty during the holidays, please know that the feelings are completely natural and completely normal. It’s also possible that they will pass with time, but it can take some time for them to dissipate. It’s not a sign of weakness or inadequacy.

Taking Care of Yourself & loved Ones

[The holidays are a time of year when families come together and are often in a celebratory mood. This can be especially hard for people who have experienced the loss of a loved one…]

“It is not easy to lose a family member or friend,” says Mary Beth LaPier, LCSW-C, of the Hospice Foundation of America. “The holidays are an opportunity for loved ones and friends to support those who have experienced this loss. For people who have lost someone close, it can be difficult to find the right time during this busy period. It’s important that they do the things they enjoy in life, even if that means celebrating their loved one’s memory differently this year. There are many ways for people to create an event that celebrates their loved one. Talk to friends and family members about doing something together.

   [It’s important for family members who are grieving during the holiday season not only to take care of themselves but also take care of each other;]

This includes talking openly about what they’re going through, remembering those who have died with rituals like memorial services or observing a day of remembrance. It also includes caring for the living by reaching out to them in loving ways. One way that family members can show their love is through Gift of Affection. This gift is given to those who are close and dear to an individual’s heart regardless of whether they’re alive or not. This gift consists of small cards, candles, flowers and other “tangible” items that have been purchased in memory of an individual who has passed away.

a family in grief during the holidays

Grief is a Process

Grief is a complicated, personal process that is often difficult to manage. It can feel like an overwhelming burden and sometimes it can be hard to know what to do. or where to turn.Many seeking help feel like they are not “supposed” to be sad. Grief is often a difficult thing for those close to the deceased to accept and it can lead individuals down many different paths of needing help or validation that their grief is real and valid. 

Remember, there is no “right way” to grieve, but there are ways to nurture the intensity of grief so as to ease the pain. The journey through grief can be difficult. Reach out to your loved ones and other supports this year, and know that you are not alone.

Mind by Design offers grief counseling services to individuals and families. Click here to meet Kristin Justice, our grief specialist here at Mind by Design and please, reach out for help. You are not alone!

angel showing grief during the holidays

Grief Counseling at Mind by Design