Coping with the Holidays After Loss
For many people, the holidays are about spending time with loved ones and having big gatherings. We are collectively experiencing physical and emotional loss and grief as the holidays will look very different this year. For those who have suffered a recent loss, the holidays can be painful and isolating. Here are some ways you can cope with the holidays after a loss:
Recognize You are Not Alone
It’s easy to feel as though you are the only one experiencing great pain during the holiday season. Everywhere you turn, people carry on with their daily lives, they may be putting up decorations and looking forward to spending time with their loved ones virtually or in small gatherings. It’s important to recognize the truth right now and that is that you are not alone. There are people all over the world who have experienced loss. Tragically, many have and continue to lose their life every day due to the unfortunate pandemic.
Honor Your Pain
It is very important that you honor whatever emotions you may be experiencing, whether it’s sadness, anger, regret or a combination. Know that these are all normal emotions and responses to the loss of a loved one. Your feelings and behaviors are valid and understandable after losing a loved one.
Take Your Time
Everyone will process their grief differently and not everyone’s grief process looks the same. For some, it may be easier to bounce back whereas it can prove to be more challenging for others. Practice kindness and empathy with yourself and remember that losing a loved one and adjusting to life after losing someone is not easy. It takes time.
Connect With Others Who Have Experienced Loss
One of the worst parts about losing a loved one is the feeling that we no longer have any control over our lives. Loss makes us feel helpless. One way to fight this feeling is to connect with others who have experienced loss. As a bonus, connecting with others who are hurting can often be a salve on our hearts as well. It can serve as a reminder that you are not alone, others have experienced similar feelings and emotions and may need an additional source of support.
When Don’t These Guidelines Apply?
If you have children, it’s important to understand that they are looking to you right now to know what life will be like from now on. To a child, the loss of a parent or sibling can frighten them terribly. Though you may not at all feel like celebrating the holidays, doing so helps your child know that life does go on and that there is space in your life to feel joy along with sadness.
If you have experienced loss and would like to explore grief counseling, please be in touch. Working through your grief process will allow you to work through your loss one step at a time.