Grieving During the Holidays

The holiday season is officially upon us. This can be a time of joy and celebration, but for some of us it is also a time of mixed emotions. Mourning the death of a loved one is a highly individualized and often complicated process. Whatever your relationship was with the deceased the holidays are sure to evoke some strong feelings. It may be your first holiday without your loved one, or your tenth and the feelings and pain feel just as strong as ever. Whatever you are feeling, know that it is ok. Dealing with loss is part of being human. There is no wrong or right way to grieve. There are some losses that I believe we never fully recover from, that stay with us in some form throughout our lives. Here are some tips for making it through the holidays while grieving;

1. Find a way to include the memory of your loved one in some way. A picture, an ornament, a recipe, or some memorabilia that reminds you of their presence.

2. Reach out to others. Grieving can feel like a lonely process, but remember to let others in and don't be afraid to ask for support. If you don't have family or friends to reach out to consider finding a trained therapist or exploring a group therapy setting.

3. Stay present and take care of yourself. Give yourself the time and space to feel what you feel. Do something nice for yourself. A massage, go to a movie, or get a hot chocolate (with the whipped cream.)

4. When the time feels right for you focusing on the joyful memories you had with the person or recalling humorous stories can be cathartic and healing.

5. Don't be afraid to face the difficult emotions. All kinds of feelings can arise; anger, guilt, betrayal. These are all normal parts of the process. However, If you feel that your grief is leading to a major depression, anxiety, or is too overwhelming to handle alone then reach out for some professional assistance and guidance.

Remember, you don't have to go through this alone.

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