11 Tips for Dealing with Holiday Grief

The lyrics from a Christmas song suggest that this is the most wonderful time of the year. Yet for women who are grieving, the holidays represent fresh sorrow.Christmas ornament

How do we survive the holiday season when everyone else acts like cheerful elves while all we want to do is curl up in the fetal position and forget?

Perhaps some of these tips will help:

Express Your Feelings. It’s okay to grieve, even during Christmas. Others may not understand but you are not responsible for how they feel. You are only responsible for yourself and your own reactions. Allow yourself time to grieve.

Be With People You Enjoy. Although it’s okay to grieve, it’s also important not to isolate yourself too long. Surround yourself with a support group that will encourage you and help you through the grief.

Embrace the Memories. Hanging ornaments on the tree often brings back special memories. Make that special holiday food or play that favorite Christmas song. Remember the good times.

Re-examine Your Priorities. You don’t have to do everything you once did to make the holidays special. Eliminate any unnecessary stress. Set realistic expectations. Simplify.

Take Care of Yourself. It’s easy to eat too much of the wrong foods, drink too much and miss out on rest. Especially during the holidays and especially while you are grieving, take care of yourself.

Exercise. This tip follows with taking care of yourself. A brisk walk in the cool air will clear your head, boost your endorphins and help you deal with holiday stress.

Remember, it’s just one day. Soon, the holidays will be over and you will launch into a new year. This difficult season will be past. Keep looking forward, keep trusting God and think about tomorrow.

Do What Feels Comfortable. Set your own boundaries. You don’t have to meet everyone’s expectations, and you don’t have to be involved in the same activities as before. Do what you want to do.

Create New Traditions. Your world is not the same as before, but you still have the freedom to do whatever you want. Try something new and create a new holiday tradition.

Do Something for Others. One of the best ways to get beyond our own grief is to consider the needs of others. Visit a nursing home. Make a treat for your neighbors. Go caroling at a hospital. Get beyond yourself and offer hope to someone else.

Consider Counseling. If you’re feeling as if you can’t cope, consider counseling. Take care of yourself by doing whatever is necessary to make it through the holidays and move forward with hope.

What about you? How do you best cope with holiday grief?

2013 GateWay of Hope – The Helping Place for Hurting Women