Five Tips For Coping With Holidays After the Loss of a Loved One

Here are some helpful tips for handling grief during the holiday season.

Feel Your Emotions and Be Honest About How You Feel

Everyone grieves differently and the holidays can be difficult for families after the loss of a loved one. Give yourself space to feel your emotions and be honest with yourself and others about how you’re feeling. There is no right or wrong way to experience grief, especially during the holidays, so be gentle with yourself.

Be Realistic With Expectations and Be Okay Saying “No”

Allow yourself grace and be realistic about what you are feeling up to doing during the holidays. Participate as much or as little as you’d like in holiday gatherings, traditions, etc. Know it’s okay to say “no” to events, gatherings, or traditions if they are too much for you.

Incorporate Your Loved One in Holiday Traditions

During the holidays, find ways to incorporate your loved one and their memory in your holiday traditions. Light a candle in their honor. Remember them with ornaments or other decorations. Send a holiday card and include a photo or memento of your loved one. Share stories of your loved ones with your friends, family, and community.

Consider a Donation in Your Loved One’s Name or a Memorial Gift

Find ways to honor your loved one by giving back. Consider making a donation in your loved one’s name to a charitable organization that is important to you or your loved one. Participate in random acts of kindness throughout the holiday season in honor of your loved one.

Ask For and Accept Help

Friends and family are likely looking for ways they can help you during the holidays. Ask them for help when needed and accept offers of help when they are offered. Have a list of specific ways they can help during the holidays, including grocery shopping, wrapping gifts, babysitting, making a meal, etc.

For additional bereaved resources, view our Bereaved Families page.

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