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Grief Takes No Holidays

Christmas is one of those times of the year when we are "expected" to be happy, excited and full of joy as we celebrate the holiday with our beloved friends and family. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case for everyone. This can be an incredibly difficult time if you have experienced the death of someone you love. The holiday can magnify the intense feelings of sadness, loneliness and pain.

If you have lost someone you love, unfortunately there is no single method that will take away the pain of grieving, but in the article Helping Yourself Heal During the Holiday Season by Dr. Alan Wolfelt, he shares some suggestions that might help you cope with your los in the best possible way for you.

  • Talk about your grief. Reach out to people you care about and trust. It doesn't help to "stuff" your feelings in the hope that grief will disappear. Talking about your grief with others is one way you can honour your relationship with your loved one.
  • Set limits for yourself. This is a time of year when so many societal and family expectations are placed upon us. I can feel even more overwhelming while we are grieving. Try to decide on activities you want to partake in and politely decline the rest. Be mindful of your own needs and expectations for yourself and try to honour them in the best way you can.
  • Plan ahead. Decide what family traditions are important for you to keep doing and give yourself permission to try something new. It can be helpful to plan some activities to do on particular days so you aren't caught off guard by your grief. It's hard to plan "everything" but if you put some thought into how you want to honour your loved one, or how you want to spend your time, it might help prevent moments of anxiety or fear at a time when those emotions are already lingering.

Grief is never easy. When the pressure of holidays are added to the mix, it can be even more difficult. According to Dr. Wolfelt, grief is both a necessity and a privilege. It comes as a result of giving and receiving love with someone important to you. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself to be surrounded by loving, supportive people.

Deirdre Mayzes, PCN Counsellor at Dr. Filanti's office.

Reference: Helping Yourself Heal During the Holiday Season, Dr. Alan Wolfelt.

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