The end of the year brings many activities and can be difficult for grieving families. Some people may look forward to time with friends and family and others may feel overwhelmed and dread the holiday season.
Allow yourself to feel your feelings. You may feel the gamut of emotions during the holidays from sadness and anger to love and joy. Understand that all emotions are valid and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. It is ok to laugh and celebrate, as well as to take time out and honor your grief and feelings of sadness and loss.
Care for yourself. The holidays are stressful. Surround yourself with people you care about. Take time for yourself and your body. Exercise and sleep are important to your wellbeing. When you are feeling stressed or exhausted take time out to relax. Read or journal as a way to tap into your inner dialogue.
Discuss what rituals and traditions are important to your family and what may be too difficult at this point in your grief journey.
Here are some new activities that may be helpful to you during the holidays:
- Light a candle in memory of your loved one.
- Create a gratitude tree and fill it with paper leaves denoting all of the people and things you are grateful for, even in light of your grief.
- Create a Memory Meal with the favorite foods of your loved one who has died.
- Make holiday ornaments with pictures or memories of your loved one.
- Have a moment of silence at your holiday meal in memory of your loved one.
- Visit the a favorite spot of your loved one and place a memento or flowers there.
- Listen to music that your loved one appreciated.
- Volunteer to help others during the season as a way to refocus your energy.
It is important to be prepared for a variety of feelings at this time of year. Remember that it is best not to isolate yourself, and you may even want to allow others to help you cook or take over some of the holiday activities. The holidays most likely will not be easy, but you can seek to find a balance that works for you and your family.