Grieving the loss of a loved one is a deep and difficult challenge at any time.
The key themes of family and reunion during the holiday season can magnify our sense of loss and sorrow — especially this holiday season, marked by a still-raging pandemic that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives and left millions bereaved.
The flow of grief can become overwhelming with waves of memories that are painful reminders of the absence of loved ones. Grief can also amplify the stress that is often already a part of the holidays. If you are mourning the loss of loved ones this season, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.
Grief is a Part of Healing
Time can heal the pain associated with a loss; but it’s what you do with that time that makes the most difference. One of the most important things you can do is give yourself permission to face your feelings. Try not to fall prey to the belief that you have to behave a certain way in order to make the holiday joyful. Grief is the process by which you heal. Experiencing the pain, rather than constantly trying to escape it, can actually help the healing process in the long term.
Set Boundaries with Holiday Events
While there may be pressure to attend a holiday party, family gathering, or holiday show, it is necessary to check in with your own wellbeing and have the confidence to express your needs. It may be helpful to commit to something that sounds fun while reminding yourself that you don’t have to stay the entire time. Finding a balance between engaging and not pushing yourself beyond your healthy comfort zone is crucial.
Create New Traditions
Creating new traditions can be healing for individuals who are grieving. Making new memories does not erase old memories. Acknowledge, validate and then challenge any feelings of guilt that may arise in the process. We may drop our change in a charity basket, purchase a gift for a needy child, or donate to a favourite organization. This can help us feel like we are contributing to the greater good. Likewise, helping improve the lives of others can help take the focus off your loss. Studies show that volunteering can be beneficial to our mental health, particularly as we age. You can also find a way to help another family member or friend who may need it. Any of these contributions can be a cathartic experience and help in the healing process.
The holiday season is not suitable to feign strength and independence when you’re grieving a death. You will need the help and support of others to get through, so don’t feel as if you are a liability. Sharing your feelings with close ones is often the best way to get through them. While friends and families might be coping with their own feelings that they cannot offer the support you need, seeking professional help would be much more helpful. Another good option is to look for a grief support group. Support group members often make friends that end up being a source of comfort and care for many years to come.
“Life tossed us up into the air, scattered us, and we all somehow found our way back. And we will do it again. And again.” says Alexandra Bracken, the American author.
Here at PsyMood, we hope everyone can immerse in the pleasure and togetherness of holiday seasons with all our hearts and we dedicate ourselves to providing professional help that reveals your inner strength to go through the darkness of loss.
PsyMood prides itself on providing online and affordable diverse mental health support for newcomers to Canada by matching our users to mental health specialists that understand their culture and speak their native language. You can start your FREE no-obligation introductory session today.