The holiday season is a beautiful time of year, but if you have recently lost a loved one, it can be a gloomy period. Even if your loved one passed away years ago, the sentimental nature of the season and the coming together of other family members can trigger beloved memories and cause you to experience holiday grief. While these emotions are perfectly normal and understandable, they can be hard to bear holiday grief.
Taking steps to reduce your holiday grief can help make the next few days a little easier for you and your loved ones
Have a family discussion beforehand
When you lose a loved one it changes everything, including how you handle celebrations. That’s why it’s so important to talk to your family beforehand. Maybe your family would like to skip the festivities this year or maybe they would like to have a smaller family event. Talking through your expectations and getting on the same page will prevent arguments and family discord.
Reconsider your holiday traditions
Continuing certain holiday traditions without your loved one can be very painful. Don’t feel pressured to return to your holiday status quo. Instead, take a moment to rethink your holiday traditions. For instance, if decorating a Christmas tree without your loved one fills you with grief talk it over with your family and come up with alternatives. Maybe instead of decorating a Christmas tree you can visit a Christmas light show display.
Reach out for support
Remember that you aren’t the only one dealing with heartbreak. Share your sadness with your other family members and lean on each other for support. Family bonds can help you relieve some of your grief.
Honor your loved one
Sometimes families feel compelled not to mention their lost loved ones for fear that it might dampen the holiday. But sometimes honoring the deceased can actually make us feel better. When you have your family discussion, talk about the ways in which you can honor your loved one this holiday. Maybe placing flowers on their grave, saying a special prayer for them at dinner, or singing their favorite song around the Christmas tree can help with your grief.
Take some personal time
The holiday season is a time in which we typically think about other people, whether this means giving gifts or helping the poor. Be sure to make time for yourself—treat yourself to a day at the spa, a nice massage, or a relaxing evening alone. If you don’t have room in your schedule for your personal time don’t be afraid to make room, even if that means turning down an invitation. Remember that it’s important that you take care of yourself.
Bonus: If the holidays pass and you’re still feeling heart-stricken, you may need more tips for your grief. Check out these tips from HuffPost, for further help.