Coping With Grief During The Holidays

Holiday grief, something I’m all too familiar with and have been for some time. The last holiday I spent with the closest person to me, my mommy, was in 2004. I was twenty-one when she passed away, and twenty-two when I spent my first holiday season without her. 

Throughout the years, I have learned some healthy ways to process and deal with my emotions. It hasn’t been easy, and I don’t anticipate that it ever will be, but each year, I make it through. 

I’m no expert, but these are the things I’ve found helpful during this tough time of the year. 

  1. Acknowledge your feelings. There’s no use in pretending you’re okay when you’re not. That only leads to a blow-up once all of those bottled up feelings come flowing out. 
  2. Be honest with yourself and the people around you. If there is something you want to do, speak up. If there’s something you don’t want to do, speak up. This is your pain, and you have the right to do things that make you comfortable.
  3. Seek therapy. Therapy is the reason I didn’t lose my mind. It helps to talk to someone unbiased, and you can share your feelings, thoughts, and everything in between without feeling judged. 
  4. Include your loved one’s favorite traditions, music, decorations, movies, etc…during the season. But only do this if you’re ready. If you’re not, that’s fine too. 
  5.  Don’t be afraid to switch it up, don’t try to save face for other people. Your grief belongs to you and you alone. Some people might find comfort in doing things the way their loved ones did; you may not. And that’s okay. 
  6. If you attend holiday events and it becomes overwhelming, it’s okay to call it a night early. 

Overall, do what you’re comfortable with and what you can handle. There is no time limit on your grief, and remember you can say no to the things you don’t want to do. 

How to help your loved ones who are dealing with grief:

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