Sad Person Sitting in Front of a Holiday TreeGrief is a complicated process that is different for everyone. The holidays can be a difficult time when you’ve lost someone close to you. You may not be ready to celebrate, but you should make an effort to connect with your loved ones who are here. Talking about grief and sad emotions when everyone around you doesn’t seem to understand your feelings isn’t easy. But grief doesn’t take a break over the holidays, so all you can do is find a healthy way to get through.

Be Compassionate With Yourself

There is no right or wrong way to handle grief. Don’t beat yourself up because you aren’t ready to celebrate the holidays. Give yourself the same kindness you would to your best friend or a small child. It might be difficult to turn off self-criticism, but self-compassion is your friend through life, not only during grief.

Acknowledge Your Grief

The holidays often magnify feelings. If you’re happy and excited, the holidays can make that excitement even more so. If you’re depressed, you may feel even worse through the holidays. Sometimes, the best way to get through difficult times is to prepare. Accept that you miss your loved one. Think about how you want to handle different events, but give yourself some room to adapt.

Communicate With Your Family and Friends  

Grief often makes you feel as if you’re alone. That’s when you need to reach out to your loved ones even more. Ask them to help you cope with the holidays. New memories and traditions don’t erase the old ones. You can honor the memory of a loved one while starting new traditions that help you cope. Maybe you need a change of scenery this year to help you through your grief. It might be time to pass a holiday tradition to the next generation and let them make it their own. Talk to your family about what you need and how they can help.

Have a Plan for Coping With Difficult Days

It’s easy to numb your pain with alcohol over the holidays, but it’s not very healthy. Identify healthy coping skills before you need them. You may need to have a couple of ideas in your pocket, depending on the situation.

  • Take a walk.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Listen to music.
  • Do something creative.

Eat Healthy

It’s hard enough through the holidays when you indulge in sweets and fatty foods that taste good in the moment. But when you don’t feel emotionally well, a diet of unhealthy foods can make things worse. You may feel bloated and nauseated on top of being sad. Grieving can make you feel as if you don’t want to cook or eat. Try to get ahead of those days by having some easier, healthier options in your kitchen.

Get Moving

Physical activity is a great way to relieve tension and stress. Take a walk. If it’s too cold outside, go to a mall and walk around. Do something that makes your body move, even when it’s difficult. Pick up a new activity by taking a class that you’ve always wanted to.

Call a Professional

If you feel stuck in grief, you may need professional help. You may need to find a counselor or want to talk to your spiritual leader. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a free helpline to find assistance at 1-800-950-6264, or text 62640 to get referrals to local assistance. The funeral home that made arrangements for your loved one may also have a local grief support group or know where you can find one.

Don’t let the holidays overwhelm you. It’s OK to slow down and do what you need to do to find a way to get through your grief.

Category: Loss

self care

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