The holidays are a time of giving thanks, joy and laughter, sparkle and glitter, sharing and gift giving. For people who are grieving, the holidays often bring a mixture of emotions and feelings, being overwhelmed by multiple demands and the difficulty of coping with the loss of loved ones.

The holidays are a tough time to grieve. Knowing that does not make them any easier, but it may help to understand and accept our reactions and find things to do to help ourselves. This is a time of year for reflection about the past year and hope for what the future can bring. During this time, it is important to look at who you are and your needs.

Grief is about loss and healing. The goal of grieving is to find the will to do what is best for you. It is important to communicate with others during this time of year, sharing your feelings, needs and limitations with others.

It may be important to develop a plan for dealing with the holidays. Having a “plan” can help you gain control. It is okay to change traditions or create new ones. There is comfort in doing things the same way, but it can also be very painful without your loved one. It is important to do only what feels right to you and your family.

Remember to ask for help when you need it. Accept offers of assistance from friends and family. They are searching for a way to make this time easier for you and allowing them to help is your gift in return. If you have children, remember their special needs during this time. Keeping a routine is important. Involve them in any changes and provide extra reassurance. They may express feelings and emotions through behavior, often times reverting to old behaviors. Offer them a chance to express themselves and to talk about their deceased loved one.

It is important to remember that the anticipation of any holiday can be much worse than the actual event. If by chance you find yourself enjoying the holidays, do not feel guilty. Having a good time does not mean you have forgotten your loved one. You cannot change the past, but you can take care of the present to help you heal for the future.

Thoughts for the Holidays

  • Plan ahead
  • Accept your limitations
  • Make changes
  • Trim down to essentials
  • Ask for help and accept help
  • Inform others of your needs
  • Build in flexibility

During this holiday season, it is important to be aware of the changes you might be experiencing. Being open and honest about changes and feelings is important. Ask questions that need more than yes or no answers. Being aware of the issues will make a difficult time easier.

For additional confidential support and information, please reach out to your Employee Coach, Kylie Murphy (315-413-3172).

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