How To Get Through Your First Holiday After Losing A Loved One

1 month, 25 days ago

The holiday season is a wonderful period for surrounding yourself with loved ones while sharing meals and partaking in happy traditions. But if you’ve lately lost someone close, it can also be a time when impressions of grief are intensified.

Spending the first vacation season without a treasured loved one can be complicated and messy — but it can be done while still enjoying parts of the season. We asked an expert how to manage feelings during what’s otherwise considered “the most wonderful period of the year.” Here are some practical tips for those working mourning this vacation season 😛 TAGEND

1. Share memories with loved ones.

vladans via Getty Images

A loved one’s absence becomes more glaring when no one speaks about them. Instead of trying to avoid talking about your deceased loved one, make a point to share memories and stories about them during gatherings of friends and family, said licensed psychotherapist Mayra Mendez, a programme designed coordinator for intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health services at Providence Saint John’s Child and Family Development Center in Santa Monica, California.

Mendez recommended focusing on funny narratives and recollecting it’s OK to giggle and enjoy those memories with one another. This is a totally normal and healthy way to deal with your sadness.

“It is important to talk about the impressions, share tales about the loved one, share memories and recall the loved one’s life in a positive frame that celebrates and honors the person’s life, ” Mendez told HuffPost.

2. Blend old traditions with new ones.

Honoring the life of a deceased loved one can mean feeling obligated to continue traditions they passed down to you( like making a specific snack on Christmas, for example ). But don’t feel beholden to them if these traditions were never your favourites. Instead, take one or two traditions you treasured and combine them with new ones to help you move on, Mendez advised.

“Hold the values and traditions that involved the loved one, but also generate new experiences that promote mending and movement forward, ” she said. “Engage in a balanced existence of blending the memories with the present and allow for both grief and resolve to co-exist.”

3. Cut back on seasonal stressors.

GMVozd via Getty Images

The holidays are full of stressful obligations, like social gatherings, gift giving, cooking and volunteering. Devote yourself permission to cut back on your commitments in order to have space to heal.

While withdrawing solely and “sitting out” the vacation season would not has become a healthy alternative, definitely take breaches and space from any events or obligations that cause you undue stress, Mendez said. People may look forward to your holiday cookies each year or hope you come to the office party, but you should also know that they will understand if you pull back deeming your loss.

However, Mendez stressed that it’s important be left in touch with your support system and communicate your schemes if you choose to skip any activities or gatherings.

“It will be important for others to know how you are feeling and connect with you in a manner that feelings right for you, ” she said. “Consider partaking in activities that do not activate discomfort, heighten unnecessary stress or trigger painful emotions that cannot be readily managed.”

4. Give mental health supporting a try.

Mendez recommended seeking treatment or support to help you if the grief feelings unbearable.

“Join support groups, attend lectures or faith-community events and attempt professional subsistence from a therapist, ” she advised.

Connecting with others who share your experiences can help you avoid isolation, which could increase the risk of depression, Mendez added. Accepting and addressing your loss is an important step in the grieve process. And while the holidays are a busy hour, your mental and emotional well-being are too important to neglect.

5. Pay attention to possible unhealthy coping techniques.

myella via Getty Images

Mendez said the holiday season can intensify feelings of grief and loss, so be aware of your own emotions — and reactions to them — during this time.

Exhaustion, loss of appetite and feelings of apathy and hopelessness can be signs that your grief might be putting you at risk for depression. Grief experts advise this could lead to unhealthy behaviors, like excess alcohol intake, withdrawing from social situations or self harm.

The first holiday without your loved one is difficult. While nothing will ever replace your loss, taking care of yourself, expending hour remembering your loved one, and enjoying the traditions of the holiday season can alleviate some of the ache while helping you progress in your grieving.

“Understand that grief is a complex multifaceted experience that changes over time and varies from loss to loss, ” Mendez said. “It takes time to adapt to the sudden and profound experience of a loved one’s death . … Grief is the process of adapting to change created by the irrevocable loss of the loved one.”

And remember: While your galas may never be the same, they can still be joyful as you recollect your loved one.

Read more:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *