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Coping with Loss During the Holidays

Are you counting down the days until the holidays are over? For those grieving the loss of a loved one, the holidays can stir up a lot of uncomfortable feelings like loneliness, anxiety, and even depression. It can feel like everyone else is looking forward to these celebrations, while you are trying your best just to get through them. Below are a few ways to help carry you through this difficult time:
  1. Be Selfish: Although this may sound strange considering the holiday season is a time for “giving unto others,” give it a chance. Take a moment to acknowledge everything you have gone through and let yourself off the hook. You don’t need to be the perfect host, cook the whole holiday meal yourself, or try to fill the role your lost loved one played in the family. Let friends and family step in to support and help this holiday season.
  2. Find an Outlet: Many people turn to art as a creative release for some pretty powerful emotions. If drawing or painting isn’t your thing, consider keeping a journal, staying physically active, or finding another tangible way to express your feelings.
  3. Reach Out for Help: The loss of a loved one can affect everyone differently–some people may experience recurring dreams, some may withdraw into themselves, others may notice that their sleeping or eating patterns have changed. However your loss is showing itself in your daily life, it may be a sign that you should see a counselor. A therapeutic relationship can provide a healthy environment to discuss your loss freely and begin the healing process.

Remember too this holiday season that there are many forms of loss. Although death may be a more apparent one, those who are going through a divorce or who are estranged from family members during the holidays are undoubtedly also dealing with a lot of pain. Let’s make supporting one another the focus of this holiday season.

Photo Credit: Katie Hickey