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Tips For Coping With Grief During The Holidays

This time of year is filled with joyful greetings of Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year at every turn. But if you have recently lost a loved one, this time of year can be far from happy or merry - especially if this year's holiday season is one of many "firsts" without your loved one.

First and foremost, it is important to know that what you are feeling is normal and common in the grieving process. It may also be comforting to know that it will get less difficult as time goes on. While giving yourself permission to be understandably sad and grieve over your loss during the holidays, also allow yourself to take advantage of ways that the holidays give to help you heal.

A few tips to consider:

  • Spend time with others who can relate and provide support. Many hospice programs have luncheons or special programs during the holidays for this purpose.

  • Have a plan for how some of your time will be spent. This will help you to have things to look forward to and avoid isolation.

  • Spend time with others who can reminisce with you and share happy memories of your loved one.

  • Create new traditions that honor your loved one, such as giving in-memory gifts to a charitable organization that represents your loved one's interests or passions (animal rescues, libraries, children's programs), or adopting a local child/family/senior citizen to provide gifts for.

  • Use arts and crafts activities, especially for children who have lost a grandparent or other loved one, such as making tree ornaments, photo collages, or other holiday decorations in honor of the person.

Efforts such as these will help you feel more connected to your loved one and create a symbolic presence during the holidays, in spite of the loss you feel.

Wishing you a peaceful holiday season!

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