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Grieving the loss of a loved one can be difficult all year round. For some of us, Christmas is especially difficult. During the festive period the hole that losing them has left in our lives, can feel all the more prominent.
We can be reminded of the memories of past Christmas’s: Whilst we may have happy memories, we can feel sad and angry that we’re no longer able to share Christmas with them in the same way. Maybe past Christmas’s were tricky and you’re missing the opportunity to create new, more positive memories.
Grieving at Christmas can also feel isolating and lonely. Not only because you’re missing someone but because you can feel disconnected from those around you when you’re trying to hide your feelings and join in with the festivities.
There is no right way to grieve at Christmas but there are a few things that clients I have worked with have found helpful. I’d like to share them with you in the hope they might be helpful for you too.
Five Ideas for coping with grief at Christmas
- Don’t be afraid to talk about your grief. You won’t ruin anyone’s Christmas by being open and honest about how you’re feeling. You’re allowed not to be OK.
- Try not to compare your experience of Christmas to other peoples. (taking a break from social media can help) Christmas is a mixed bag of emotions for everyone. No one is 100% happy, 100% of the time.
- Find a way to honour them. You could light a candle, hang a special decoration, share memories or start a new tradition that honours them.
- Set realistic boundaries for your time. If you need to take a break or to say no to someone, do so. Feeling tired and overwhelmed can make coping more difficult.
- Allow space for your feelings. You may feel sad, angry, grumpy, anxious. However you’re feeling is OK, you don’t have to try and push them aside.
I hope that if you’re struggling to cope with your grief this Christmas that you are able to show yourself compassion and kindness.
Maybe if you know someone who may find Christmas difficult you could share this post with them. They will appreciate just knowing that you’re thinking about them and understand that they may find Christmas difficult.