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How to Navigate Holiday Grief

Ideas to avoid the Holiday Blues after the loss of a loved one, job, pet or first year of an empty nest.

Tree in field
Creating space for yourself can feel difficult but is so worth it

Sometimes grief is like swimming in a sea of helplessness: you lose touch with your emotional skill set, feel untethered from the world around you and even can feel an increase of grief during holidays.

Here are some tips and ideas to help yourself move through and cope with grief during this time of year:

Proactively create a comforting environment:

Create a space for yourself where you can be open to normal traditions and create new traditions. Speak with your families or loved ones and brainstorm what traditions are important to honor and what new traditions you might explore.

Coping mechanisms and motivations:

You may find yourself becoming accustomed to this way of life, often forgetting that you have choices. As the holidays approach, going along with the plans of others may feel easier.

However, considering your own needs during the holidays is necessary to manage these difficult days. It's ok to not fully know and just experiment with ways to meet those needs as well.

Make Holiday plans:

Making a plan A and a plan B based on your needs will allow you to feel you have choices. Knowing you have a plan can alleviate the anguish that you may feel.

Rest into knowing you have a plan that you can change based on what your needs are that day.

Feel your emotions:

Allowing yourself to feel your emotions instead of stuffing them away or avoiding them is part of the process of grief.

Imagine what would happen if you did not open the flue to your family room fireplace. The toxins and smoke would come right back into the house.

Grief needs a flue too! Expressing emotions is our body’s way of releasing toxins. Ask for help. Remind your family and friends that you may need to lean on them. Let them know your needs.

If you feel you need more support, reach out to a therapist to help you deal with your grief in a healthy manner.

Please Note: If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest hospital for emergency services or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.


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