Holidays for many are a time of love, laughter, and joy with family and friends. After experiencing the loss of a loved one, holiday time can lead to feeling sadness, withdrawn, emptiness, or anger. All these negative emotions change the meaning of the holidays to one of sorrow and grief. Here are some tools to help grieve and still engage positively in holiday time with friends and loved ones.
Prepare ahead for the holidays. Consider situations that may be sensitive, and what you enjoy the most about the holidays. Being more self-aware is key! Create a plan that balances yours needs, and communicate that plan with others.
Do not isolate! Being around friends and family can be reminder of your loss, but also a time for comfort, support and reminiscing. Still consider the balance of solidarity and socializing to meet your needs while grieving.
Give yourself some credit! Everyone grieves differently, so set realistic expectations for yourself and others. Be honest about how you are feeling, and allow yourself to have positive and negative emotions. Balance these feelings out during this time by not pushing your boundaries too much. Be mindful, and don't forget self-care.
Create new traditions that pay homage to your loved one, and resemble your current family or friend circle dynamic after the loss.
Check out the 64 Tips for Coping with Grief at the Holidays!