Grief and the HolidaysIt’s the most wonderful time of the year“, except when you have experienced the death of a loved one who was a big part of the holiday celebration. Or, perhaps you just experienced a loss of another kind – a marriage, or a career. Grief and the holidays seem like an oxymoron – how can you experience the gratitude and joy of this time of year?

Here are 5 tips that can help:

  1. Acknowledge your loss to someone else. You may feel those closest to you already know so what is the use in bringing it up? This step will help you “practice” speaking your truth. Don’t feel like you have to walk into the holiday event and begin telling everyone what you are experiencing, that may overwhelm you (and them!). Instead, share with those who know you – share about what you will miss as a result of the loss at this time of year. It also gives those closest to you permission to share with you what they notice since the loss.
  2. Create some new memories to honor your loved one. You may want to resist doing anything at all – avoid putting up a tree, going to a family gathering or church event – in an effort to avoid the pain of the loss. Instead, create a way to honor your loved one. Perhaps donate a gift to a charity, invite a friend who also might need connection to dinner, or write a letter to your loved one who has passed expressing gratitude for the life you shared together.
  3. Attend a grief group designed to help you through the holidays. So many times we resist help in these tender times. Sometimes it is just too hard to hear others stories. Grief groups can be so very helpful and can create support during the season. Check with your church or with New Life for some great resources.
  4. Ask for support. You might need to see a professional counselor, pastor, or close friend on a weekly basis throughout the season for support – especially if this is the first holiday season without your loved one or since your recent loss. This is an invaluable part of your recovery and healing process.
  5. Practice self-care. This may seem so simple, yet when we are overwhelmed by grief the simple practice of self-care goes away. Are you sleeping well? How is your health? Are you eating too little or too much? Grief can be a physical experience as much as a spiritual and emotional experience. Spend time in prayer and meditation on the Word. Being aware of your physical needs and addressing these needs will have a positive and healing effect on you.

Wherever you are on the grief journey, know that there is help and support for you. Please call us if you need help finding the help you need. 800-NEW-LIFE (639-5433)