For most people, the holidays are a time of counting blessings and spending time with family and friends. But for many others, this time of year serves as a reminder of what they’ve lost.
How do you cope with grief during the holidays? Diane Brooks, MACE, manages the Safe Harbor Grief program at CarePartners Hospice & Palliative Care McDowell. She offers some advice:
- Being authentic in your grief is a great way to cope. Allow grief to be what it is, and allow yourself to be who you are.
- Taking things one moment at a time is also a great coping skill. If you think of holiday celebrations from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, it can seem overwhelming.
- Be open to the possibility of happiness during the holidays … and if you do feel some happiness, do so without guilt.
- Decide if you want to continue regular holiday traditions. Planning ahead can help ease some of the stress of anticipating the day. Plan out special days so you know what to expect.
- Take care of yourself. Cry if you need to cry. Laugh if you need to laugh.
- Help someone else. It always takes our mind off our own troubles when we reach out to others in need.
- Do whatever feels right for you. Each person grieves differently. Some people like to talk about the missing loved one. Others might not feel comfortable doing that.
- Keep in mind that love never dies. Activities that celebrate connection through the love you have for someone, even though that person is no longer present with you, is healing.
Diane Brooks, MACE, manages the Safe Harbor Grief program at CarePartners Hospice & Palliative Care McDowell.