With the holiday season upon us, families all across the country are preparing to celebrate the season with their loved ones. For many families, there will be an empty spot at the dinner table this year because of the passing of a loved one. Whether the loved one passed six months ago or sixteen years ago, the loss can be especially difficult to cope with around this time of year. The holidays are stressful for most of us, even when we aren’t grieving the death of someone we love. Added on top of the normal holiday stress, grief can make the holidays even more difficult. Here are some resources from our Family Support Services department on dealing with the holidays this year.
The holidays will not be the same this year and it might feel strange trying to follow the same traditions this year. Your celebration of the holidays this year might include some new rituals and traditions. Here are some suggestions. It is important to realize that what you decide to do this year, is not what you have to do forever. It is just this one year and next year you can do something different.
Rituals must be very personal and can be different for different members of the family. These articles lists some more ideas.
Preparation is key when it comes to coping with the holiday season. The more you can prepare and think ahead of time about the upcoming holidays, the easier it could be for you.
Take a few minutes and think about what traditions are meaningful to you and is it important to incorporate them this year. Sometimes we have traditions during the holidays that may or may not be ones we like to keep. Take this opportunity to evaluate what you feel you “have” to do and what you feel you can “stop” doing.
It is expected that you will have moments during the holiday season when you are feeling sad and depressed. Thinking ahead about ways you can comfort yourself or be comforted by others can be helpful. Spend some time now considering “Things I Know Will Help Me When I’m Down”.
General Grief Articles
- “Dealing with Grief in the Holiday Season” talks about the combination of holiday stress and grief and offers some helpful information.
Children, Grief and the Holidays
Many families struggle with how to help the children in their lives understand the loss, grieve and recognize the holiday season.
“Helping Your Child Deal with Death” offers an overview on how to talk to children about death and grief.
“Children’s Developmental Stages and Responses to Grief” reviews how children of different ages understand death and begin to grieve.
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