When you're grieving, the holiday season can feel like a constant stream of reminders of past traditions and memories with those who have passed. Here are a few tips on how to navigate and honor these emotions during this especially difficult time period.
1. Talk about the person.
One of the best ways to deal with grief is not to turn away from it. Those around you will understand if you need to cry or want to talk about the person you are missing at a family event or holiday party. It can also be helpful to honor your loved one by sharing memories and keeping their spirit alive as if they were still sharing a laugh at the dinner table with you.
2. Change up your traditions.
If maintaining the same holiday traditions you always did with the person you've lost proves to be too difficult - switch things up! There's no harm in trying to make a new pie for Thanksgiving or booking a cozy cabin for Christmas. Be gentle with yourself and be open to change if that's what feels right for you.
3. If you're not up for it, don't go.
If being around happy families or crowded parties seems like it would overwhelm or depress you further - stay home and watch a comforting movie instead. Ask yourself what you need in the moment - if it's laughing with friends, go to the party; if it's crying while watching "The Holiday," pop some popcorn and grab the tissues. Don't push yourself if you're not ready to return to events you loved in the past.
Overall, grief is not a cyclical journey. Whether it's been 3 months or 40 years - holidays can bring up both new and old feelings of longing and sadness. This season, the best gifts you can give to yourself are compassion and patience. You've got this.