Losing a loved one can make the holiday season unbearable. Even years after bereavement, the emotional wounds may still feel new, especially during special occasions that stir up old memories and remind you of your loss. Although you may feel hopeless or like the pain will never end, Dr. Taji Huang can help you make it through the first Christmas after a loved one’s passing.
Tips To Cope With Grief During The Holidays
- Remember That Grief Can Manifest In Many Ways
- Know That Any Emotions Are Valid
- Create Traditions To Honor Your Loved One
- Set Boundaries
- Reach Out To Loved Ones For Support
- See A Therapist
Know That Grief Can Manifest In Many Ways
People often talk about the “five stages of grief,” but it’s important to remember that grief is often nonlinear—you might not experience all of them, or you might repeatedly find yourself experiencing a particular stage. Moreover, different people experience grief differently, and your emotional experience doesn’t have to match that of the rest of your family.
Understand That Your Emotions Are Valid
Grief can bring up any number of emotions—sometimes simultaneously or in rapid succession—and all of them are valid. Whether you feel uncomfortable because the people around you are pressuring you to be cheerful and festive, guilty or ashamed about experiencing moments of holiday joy despite your loved one being gone, angry that the festivities are going on without them, or numb and unable to process what’s happening, know that there’s nothing wrong with you for feeling however you’re feeling.
Create A Special Tradition To Honor Your Loved One
Holiday rituals and traditions can be deeply meaningful ways to commemorate those who have left us. For instance, some families may find solace in cooking their loved one’s favorite meal, displaying a special ornament that represents them, or lighting a candle in their memory. These traditions can help us find peace while reminding us of the love and memories that will always exist in our hearts.
You don’t have to attend every holiday celebration or event that your friends, coworkers, and acquaintances invite you to, especially if it’s too overwhelming or painful. It’s okay to set boundaries and give yourself space to feel your feelings at your own pace.
Ask Loved Ones For Support
Even if you feel deeply lonely, you don’t have to suffer alone. You might wish to consider reaching out to friends and family to let them know you’re having a hard time.
Talk To A Professional Therapist
While it’s true that grief is a testament to your love, and that it may come and go in waves, that doesn’t have to preclude you from healing, finding peace in your own heart, and being able to cope with the holiday season once again. Sometimes, prolonged grief can turn into clinical depression, which can continue for years or even decades, but therapy can help you heal. Also, your loved one would want you to find healing and relief from your suffering.
Professional Grief Counseling In California
Grief makes the holidays hard, especially the first year after losing someone you love dearly. Dr. Taji Huang is a professional psychologist and depression therapist in Glendale. Contact her office today to schedule an appointment.