How To Cope With A Loss Over The Holidays
The holidays are usually associated with families and friends getting together, but there are many people out there that are also dealing with a loss of a loved one, some for the first time.
Let's be honest, no matter what, the holidays can be a very stressful time on any given good day. There's the prepping of food, coordinating family members who may be coming in from out of town, the hustle and bustle of fighting the crowds as you look for that perfect gift for a loved one.
I still get into the holiday spirit and love hearing the Christmas music and laughing and spending time with my friends, but I am one of those people that is also dealing with the loss of a loved one.My wife passed away on May 22, 2006. Even though it's been seven years, I still have those moments, especially during the holidays, where it is difficult.
There really isn't any right or wrong way to deal with grief over the holidays, but I did want to pass along a few tips that may help.
- Allow yourself to express emotions: you will have moments of joy, laughter, sadness and anger. It is best not to suppress any of them.
- If this is your first season without a loved one, try and remind yourself that, yes, things will be different this year.
- Try not to cancel your plans: You may have some people invite you to their home or a social event during the season. Don't over stretch yourself, but try not to bail on some of these. Becoming a hermit will not help you in the long run.
- Surrounding yourself with family and friends will help you through the process. You will want/need a strong support system.
- Join a Group: Many organizations have support groups for people that have lost a love one. It could be your first or fiftieth year, but sharing your feelings with people that are also grieving helps. Honest.
- Do something for others: There are so many charities out there that you could show your support for. Help at a soup kitchen, donate to a charity in your loved ones name, visit children or the elderly that are in area hospitals. I know that some of the most gratifying things I've done over the years have been focused around charities.
- Start a journal: I've been able to get through some very rough patches by just sitting down and writing whats going on or how I'm feeling.
- Think about visiting one of the local animal shelters and adopting a 'forever friend.' I was lucky enough to have already had my precious little, Meme. Believe me, there is nothing like coming home after a long day and being greeted by my ten pound Pekingese. Good day or bad day, that tail wags with unconditional love.
There are also many, many books on the subject of coping with loss, grief and depression.
I hope that some of these tips might help or spark ideas that haven't been mentioned.
Just remember that you are not alone in what you are going through and that it does become more manageable over time.