Holidays are traditionally a period of celebration and joy. However, one might not feel this way while grieving over their loved one. It might create a sense of stress and frustration as the holidays get near and the thought of spending your first or even the twentieth holiday without that loved one can be quite heart wrenching. So, if you have lost a loved one recently, here’s how to get through the holiday season.
At Strouf Funeral Home, we carry out burial and cremation services for hundreds of families each year. So, we understand how difficult the times might be for you.
Why Grief Seems Worse During Holidays?
Due to the tremendous feelings and memories that can accompany the holiday period, grieving can be incredibly challenging. Holidays frequently occur when individuals gather with friends and family to enjoy themselves. So, it can trigger the memories of the loved ones you lost.
Furthermore, the push to celebrate and have a good time around this time of year might make it more difficult for those mourning a loss. Moreover, it may also bring back painful memories of previous holidays with the deceased loved one. The holidays may act as the loss’s reminder and amplify grief.
Also, customs you used to have altered or perhaps disappeared once you lost someone. It might be the tradition of cooking a favorite family recipe or opening presents together. You start forgetting ingredients for your favorite dishes, and the enthusiasm for giving and receiving wanes.
So, the pain over a loved one’s death is frequently masked during the holidays because they are a season of happiness and celebration. Everyone around you seems to have the time of their lives, but you are grieving the loss of your loved one. It makes the time even sadder and more challenging.
7 Strategies to Cope With Grief During the Holidays after a Loss
Holidays might trigger the memories of your deceased loved ones, making it too difficult to pass the day. So, let’s go over a few strategies that will help you cope during the holiday after a loss:
1. Set Boundaries
Remember, you are free to take part or not, depending on how it feels. Even if there is pressure to attend a family gathering or holiday party, it is best not to force yourself.
Well, committing to something enjoyable while knowing that you do not have to stick around full-time could be beneficial. It’s acceptable to opt-out of a few things as well entirely. Finding the right balance between exerting yourself and not straining yourself is crucial.
2. Feel the Emotions
As much as possible, let yourself experience your emotions when they arise. Loss frequently elicits a range of contradictory feelings. You could experience extreme happiness one second and unfathomable sadness the next. And there is room for each of your emotions, which are all legitimate. Allow yourself to experience without restriction.
Remember, enabling yourself to experience difficult emotions like sadness, anger, or frustration is highly crucial. Unacknowledged and suppressed emotions frequently accumulate. It could get worse during the festive season and eventually explode under strain. So, try to allow yourself the time and space to recognize and express any emotions that are emerging in you as they do.
3. Create a Practical Plan
Making plans for personal time is a necessary component of holiday preparation. Those arrangements will differ from before you lost someone close to your heart. It’s acceptable if you don’t want to do as much as you have in the past.
However, you don’t want to spend the entire time at home either. Consider the activities you’d like to incorporate into your plan and allow yourself to skip a few.
4. Maintain Your Health
Grief may be a very physically demanding process. So, it may impact your eating habits and your sleeping schedule. As a result, it is a must to take care of yourself. Remember to get enough rest and schedule naps when you require them. Eat nutritious foods and get enough water.
Moreover, spend time outside during the day and work out when you’ve got the energy. Because of the vital link between the mind and body, caring for your physical needs might benefit you during your grieving period.
5. Seek Assistance & Support
One has to do tons of things during the holiday season, which can be incredibly stressful even during regular times. So, holiday duties like gift-buying or decorations might feel overwhelming, especially when you’re mourning. Thus, asking a family member or friend for assistance is best if you don’t have the mindset or energy to do something.
Moreover, sharing your feelings with your relatives and friends rather than suppressing them might help you cope. Trying to do everything alone, even when you don’t feel like it, can harm your mental health badly.
6. Make New Traditions & Honor Old Ones
Developing new traditions might be therapeutic for people who lost their loved ones. Well, old memories will not disappear when you make new ones. Do not forget that your dear one wants you to have a happy time during the holidays. Besides, if any regretful feelings emerge during the process, recognize, accept, and then question them.
Additionally, it might be beneficial to go on with old customs that once existed in respect and celebration of those who passed away. It is a helpful strategy for maintaining their memory.
7. Help Others
Working as a volunteer for a social or charitable group might also be advantageous during the tough holidays. Moreover, in honor of the deceased, you can give to a charity of your choice. Remember, while offering pleasure to another individual whose life requires it, supporting others also makes you feel less depressed. So, it’s always a wise decision.
Strouf Funeral Home has been managing burial and cremation services for quite some time. So, we know the holiday period isn’t as joyous as we would want. Remember that there’s no correct or incorrect way to celebrate the holidays after losing a loved one. Try to find the strategies that work best for you.