Expert Tips for Those Grieving During Holiday Season

The holidays are ordinarily thought of as a time of joyfully communing with family members. Sadly, not all of us are fortunate enough to have all of our loved ones still with us. For those mourning the loss of those close to them, the holidays can be heavy with grief.  

Accept  Your Feelings  

Bitter though it may sound, it might actually be better to skip the holidays. Instead of joining family and friends at Christmas dinner, it may be more helpful spending time with a photo album or movie you and your lost loved one enjoyed together. Simply going through the motions as though nothing is wrong may only deepen the bitterness and make you feel like a hypocrite. Accept that you are sad if that is how you feel. Keep in mind, furthermore, that you are in no way obligated to spend time with family and friends if you do not feel you do not feel up to it.   

Expecting this holiday season to be just like all the rest, even if it is distinguished by the recent loss of a loved one, may only lead to disappointment. Keep in mind that you are only human and that you simply may not be psychologically capable of getting into the holiday spirit at the drop of a hat. Indeed, it makes no sense to let a mere change in calendar date dictate the pace of your mourning. Take whatever time you need.   

Avoid Becoming Isolated  

Of course, it is important to strike a balance between giving yourself space and time to recuperate and becoming unhealthily isolated. If you want to celebrate the holidays, but struggle with whether or not you are ready for it, it may be helpful to celebrate less intensely. If you are used to celebrating with elaborate decorations, for example, you may want to forego them this year and just spend a quiet evening with supportive friends and family. If you do decide to go out with family or friends, it may be helpful to release unusually intense or pent up emotions beforehand so you do not burst into tears during the middle of a crowded celebration. Support groups or lectures on grieving may also be helpful.