Tips for Getting Through the Holiday Season After Loss
We expect to spend time with our loved ones during the holiday season. But when the person we want to see most has died, the pain can seem unbearable. That doesn’t mean you won’t get through it, though.
Courtesy of The Purple Vine, here are some ways to honor the person you lost while still living your own life to the fullest -- just like the departed would want you to.
Accept Your Grief and Honor the Departed
First, don’t pretend it didn’t happen. Pretending that everything is fine will only prolong the grief and make it feel like you’ve forgotten the person. If you need to take time to cry, do so! Experiencing grief is part of the healing process. Don’t hold yourself to an arbitrary time frame of when you should feel better.
Some ways to honor your lost loved one:
- Light a candle in remembrance of him or her, in the home, or at your place of worship
- Say a prayer in remembrance together as a family
- Share a favorite holiday story about your loved one
- Have others each tell a story about him or her
- Visit the gravesite and leave flowers
- Hang an ornament or decoration in remembrance
- Create a nonprofit dedicated to their favorite cause (according to ZenBusiness, tasks will include choosing a name and registered agent, creating bylaws, and getting tax ID number).
Turn to Your Pets
When you’re feeling bleak and need some extra love, your dog can provide just the right amount of support. Your pet will always give comfort and love, and she’ll never judge you for what you’re wearing, how you’re feeling or how much work you’ve gotten done. She’ll only want to lay her head in your lap for more affection. Spending time with your pet can ease your blood pressure, lower your heart rate, reduce tension and calm your mind.
Ask for Help
If you’re having trouble coping with daily life, consider joining a support group. Support groups are filled with other people who are grieving and are managed by a professional. Just being around others with similar experiences and feelings can help you feel less alone, especially during the holidays. If you’re not sure where to start, look for support groups at your church.
See a professional therapist, if you need it. Grief can be debilitating, but even if you’re not knocked flat you should still care for your own mental health during this difficult time. Don’t be afraid to seek help. Talking through the pain to an unbiased mental health professional can make you feel a lot better.
Break the Routine
Also, feel free to change things up. If you just don’t feel like celebrating the holidays this year in a traditional way, it’s okay not to. You can go on a trip with friends, host a smaller gathering or spend time doing what makes you feel better.
Give Unto Others
Another way to work through your grief is by giving to others. Often, giving something of yourself to others can help fill a need within yourself. If you don’t have the energy to volunteer, donate in the name of your loved one, perhaps to a charity or cause that they championed. It’s a special way to honor their memory.
Remember that while the pain of loss never goes away, it does get easier with time. The first year is usually the hardest because you have to go through all of the “firsts” (first holidays, birthdays, etc.) without your loved one. It may seem like you’ll never be the same again -- and you might not -- but the burden of grief will slowly lift, and in time you will feel better.
The Purple Vine exists to support caregivers of all types by sharing pointers, tips, new information, great ideas, and anything else a care provider says they need. Get in touch with us today!
Article by Hazel Bridges @ Agingwellness.org