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Navigating Grief During the Holiday Season

lighting a candle in moments of grief

While for many the holiday season is filled with joy, love, laughter and the creation of new memories, for those who have lost someone it can be a poignant reminder of the absence of tradition, presence and time. Coping with loss during the holidays can be especially difficult, as fesitivities can amplify a sense of emptiness. Although you may be surrounded by family, a feeling of isolation can overwhelm. If you find yourself struggling to be cheery, or grappling with grief this holiday seasons, notice that you are not alone. Here are some quick tips on how to help manage your feelings of loss while others may be embracing the joy of the season.

Acknowledge Your Feelings

It's ok to not be ok. Make space for those feelings of sadness, anger, confusion and loss. The more we push something away, the stronger it keeps coming back. If we allow our emotions the space they need to exist, they will come and go much more gracefully.

Create New Traditions

Consider starting some new traditions during the holiday seasons. Maybe these incorporate your loved one, like lighting a candle in their honour, creating a scrapbook of memories, or hanging a special ornament. Developing new traditions in a way that honours those you've lost can help aid in the healing process.

Establish Limits

It can feel overwhelming to attend all family functions and engage in all traditions especially while you are grieving. Make sure to recognize your limits and set boundaries. Give yourself permission to decline invitations or shift plans to honour your own capacity.

Include Your Lost Loved One

Take some time to consider how you can continue to have a relationship with your loved one during this time of year. While they may not be physically present, you can continue to foster a relationship with them through things like: hanging a special ornament, preparing their favourite dish, or writing them a heartfelt letter. Finding ways to maintain a connecting with your loved one is an important part of healing.

Connect with a Therapist

Therapy can be a aluable resource for navigating grief, especially during the holidays. A trained professional can provide guidance, coping strategies, and a safe space for you to express your emotions without judgment.

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to grieve, and healing is a personal journey. Be patient with yourself, allow space for healing, and know that, in time, the holidays may become an opportunity for reflection, growth, and honoring the enduring love you shared with your departed loved one.

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