Holidays are filled with traditions, but when someone you used to share those moments with has died, managing grief during the holiday season can be particularly challenging.
Mental and physical preparation are your best tools for managing the feelings that may accompany holidays. While family members, may want things to be as they’ve always been, the reality is things have changed. It can also be a time to create new traditions and memories that honor your absent loved one.
Consider this advice from the National Funeral Directors Association to help navigate grief this holiday season.
Get plenty of rest. he holiday season pulls people in many directions, and that can mean getting less sleep than you need. However, being tired not only has a physical impact on how you feel, it can affect your ability to process emotions.
Give yourself permission to take a break. o two people process grief and loss the same way; only you know your limits. Even in a season filled with obligations and commitments, know that it’s OK to set boundaries and remove yourself from holiday reminders and triggers.
Be realistic with your commitments. ou may be the one who hosts your family’s holiday celebration every year, but if others offer to take responsibility, let them. Allow loved ones to help, and if they don’t volunteer, don’t be afraid to ask.
Look for tangible ways to express feelings. o much of grief is internal as you manage numerous thoughts and emotions, but physical expressions of your memories and feelings can help process it all.
Verbalize how you’re feeling. anage expectations by telling family and friends how you’re feeling about the holiday and what they can expect from you. Also let them know what you need from them. If talking about your loved one brings comfort, let those around you know you appreciate the stories and reminiscing. If it hurts, ask that they refrain.
Honor your feelings and needs. s most who have experienced loss know, grief comes in waves. The only way to process grief is to ride one wave to the next. That may mean putting off your holiday shopping for a day when you’re feeling less emotional or bowing out of an event you planned to attend.
Find more advice to help navigate your way through a loss at rememberingalife.com. (Family Features)