The Holiday period can be especially difficult if you are grieving. This article lists some suggestions to help you cope. Remember to be gentle with yourself and do what feels best for you.
- Spend some time thinking about what feels right for you this season. Consider which traditions and festivities you feel comfortable participating in and which you don’t. Give yourself permission to skip the things you’re finding difficult or painful at the moment. Others will understand if you don’t feel ready yet. On the other hand, you might feel that continuing with at least some of your usual traditions is the best way for you and your family to cope.
- Remember that members of your family may cope with grief in different ways to you. Try to be sensitive towards each other and have an open discussion about how everyone is feeling and what will be best for you all.
Find ways to remember them
- You might find it comforting to remember your loved one and celebrate their life in one or more of the following ways. You can do these things alone or with family or friends.
- “Speaking” to them, silently or out loud, or writing them a letter.
- Visiting the grave or place where the ashes were scattered and placing a letter there.
- Lighting a candle in their memory.
- Buying or making a new special decoration.
- Visiting a place that was special to your loved one.
- Having a glass of their favourite drink or cooking their favourite meal.
- Listening to their favourite music.
- Sharing your favourite memories of the person who died with family and friends.
Look after yourself
- It’s important to be kind to yourself. If things get too much or you feel overwhelmed, excuse yourself and take a breather. Over the festive season, make sure you take some time out for yourself and engage in some self-care. Take a relaxing bubble bath or read a good book.
- It’s also important to try to keep to your regular routine of sleeping and eating where you can and include activities like exercise, going out for walks and seeing friends and family.
Talk to someone
- Try not to keep things bottled up inside. Open up and share how you are feeling with friends and loved ones. If you don’t feel able to do this, there is help available. You can talk to The Samaritans on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call the Cruse National Helpline on 0808 808 1677. You can also message a trained grief counsellor using their online chat service 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday.
Allow yourself happy moments
- Give yourself permission to enjoy any moments of unexpected happiness you experience this season. Try not to feel guilty about them. This is healthy and normal.
Our bereavement and grief support page details how to cope with death and grief, support contacts and resources, and guidance for line managers.
- Cruse Bereavement: Grief can be overwhelming. You don't have to deal with it alone. Visit the Cruse website for resources and contact details to find support on dealing with grief at Christmas.
- Mind: The Mind website provides information on bereavement, where to go for support, and suggestions for helping yourself and others through grief.
- NHS website: Explore more around the symptoms and feelings of grief after bereavement or loss and where you can find further support.