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Tips for Dealing with Grief Around the Holidays and Special Occasions
Some of the most challenging times during the grieving process are holidays and special occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries. Often, when you’ve lost someone that you love, these special dates serve to remind you of their absence in your life, and can often bring back feelings of sadness, guilt, anger, and a variety of other emotions which are normal to feel as you grieve for your loved one.
If you’re worried about an upcoming special occasion and how it may make you feel, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Plan for the day
Treat the anniversary or special occasion the same way as you would any important day. Plan ahead, talk to your family and friends about the best way to remember your loved one, and speak to your employer about taking time off, if you feel you may need it.
Allow yourself to be sad
It’s normal to feel sad on days which were important to you and your loved one, and to spend time reflecting on your loss. Spend some time taking care of yourself and remembering them. Some ways you can do this in healthy ways are:
- Write a letter to that person
- Do something that you used to do together
- Revisit a special spot
- Share some memories with people who were also close to your loved one
Forgive yourself for enjoying your day
It may be hard to celebrate or be happy while you’re missing someone that you love, but it’s also normal to feel regular, happy emotions as well. It’s okay to relax, have fun, and share a laugh with people who cared about your loved one and knew them well. Enjoying your day doesn’t mean that you love them, or miss them, any less.
Take care of yourself
This may be difficult to do, but remember that taking care of yourself should be your first priority. Avoid making major decisions until after the holidays or special occasions are over and, if possible, treat yourself to something that you enjoy doing. Some ways you can relax are:
- Going for a walk
- Taking a trip to the beach (if the weather permits)
- Playing organized sports
- Go shopping
- Hang out with friends and loved ones
Talk to someone you trust
It may help to talk about your feelings with someone you trust, such as a family member, friend, or mentor. If you feel like the day-to-day emotions are too overwhelming, it may be beneficial to talk to a counselor or mental health professional. Getting your feelings off your chest and expressing them in healthy ways can go a long way towards helping you heal and learn to cope with feelings of loss and sadness in healthy and productive ways.
Losing a loved one is never easy, especially around the holidays and other special occasions you shared together, but by taking care of yourself and taking the time to reflect and mourn your loss, you can move forward in healthy and positive ways.