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10 tips on How to Get Through the Holidays While Grieving

The holiday season is stressful enough for most people, but for those who have recently experienced the death of a loved one, this time of the year may bring about a heightened sense of anxiety and dread. At Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care, we want you to know that you are not alone and that we are here to help. The staff at Seasons have put together 10 tips on how you can get through the holidays after the loss of a loved one.

  • If you have lost a loved one, be gentle with yourself. Give yourself permission not to live up to others’ expectations for you, but listen to your heart and only do those things that feel right to you.
  • Some of the biggest problems people experience are due to a lack of understanding of how other family members feel. Therefore, some people find it helpful to have a family meeting, so that together they can talk about and understand everyone’s needs.
  • Changing routines that have been part of your holidays but may seem too painful this year can be a help. However, try not to change everything. Instead seek to combine some old traditions with some new ones. Keeping a few traditions helps to preserve memories and continuity.
  • Plan to spend time with people you enjoy, and who can accept your sadness as well as your joy.
  • If social occasions and invitations seem overwhelming, try to handle them one at a time. You may feel like participating on some days, while others may seem too difficult. When invited to an event, ask to leave the invitation open so you can decide how you feel at the last minute.
  • Know that it is okay to make your needs known to people. Those who care about you really do want to help but often aren’t sure how.
  • Shopping will be easier if you make lists before you go. When you are having a “good day,” take out the list and go shopping. You’ll be able to accomplish much more in a shorter amount of time and with less uncertainty. You might also consider simpler shopping methods this year, such as ordering online or from catalogues, or buying gift certificates.
  • Remember that taking care of your needs includes eating right, getting exercise and ensuring that you have enough rest.
  • Consider opening presents on a different day or at a different time; light a candle in memory of your loved one; observe a moment of silence before dinner; make a charitable donation in memory of your loved one.
  • Wrap a picture of your loved one or one of their cherished belongings and give it as a gift to another family member who shares your loss.