Hey y’all! It’s that time of the year where we get into the holiday festivities (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, New Years). While this is a fun time for friends and family, it can be sad for those who are suffering the loss of a loved one.
During the holidays, the persons who are grieving, often experience loneliness, sadness, or anxiety. With out proper coping skills, a grieving person can be in a risk of suicide, high risk behaviors, or substance abuse. Check out some of these tips in getting through rough times during the holidays.
- Seek counseling- You may have some unresolved issues about your loved one. This maybe the first holiday that you are spending without that special person. There maybe a painful memory surrounding how your love one passed away and you want to process that. Seeing a therapist can help you express your feelings and receive feedback.
- Stay busy- Engage in different activities such as volunteering, meeting with friends for lunch, take a day trip, try a new hobby, RSVP to some upcoming events that you were invited to. When my father died in 2014, my friend invited me to her dinner party in Maryland for Thanksgiving while my co worker invited me to her family home for Christmas and I had a GREAT time!
- Attend A Support Group- You can receive support from others who are going through the same thing that you are going through. Local churches, hospitals, hospice facilities have free or low cost Bereavement support groups in the community.
- Start A Ritual- Having a ritual in honor of your love one. Some people attend memorial gatherings in the community while some pray at their place of worship on the anniversary of their death. I knew people who get a tattoo. Ever since I was a child, my dad always make every holiday special. When I visit his grave site, I always plant flowers and a small decoration that go with the holiday at that time. I guess you can say that is my way of celebrating a holidays with him.
- Speak To Your Doctor- If your grieving is interfering with sleep, concentration at work/school, appetite, or physical function, then you might want to consult with a doctor for medication. Medications for depression and anxiety can be short term during the beginning stages of grief. Your doctor may suggest you to see a therapist for additional emotional support.
As you practice these coping techniques, your grieving will be easier. Understand this is not about forgetting your loved one. You will always remember the good times you have. Give yourself time to adjust and find peace!