Holidays can be a beautiful time of year where families come together and create wonderful memories together. However, if a family member or friend has passed away, holidays can be painful reminders of their absence. Good memories and traditions associated with the deceased may now create sadness as they will no longer be present in the celebration. A person suffering from grief may feel low energy and may not want to celebrate the holiday season entirely. Additionally, the anticipation of spending the holidays without a love one can cause a person distress throughout the entire season. Here are some tips to help make the holidays easier for those experiencing grief.
First of all, it is important to fully acknowledge the difficulty of the holiday season, particularly the first holiday season after a loved one has passed. With this understanding, you can prepare ahead of time using the following tips.
Give yourself permission to feel your feelings. This can mean feeling anything from sadness about the passing of your loved one or even happiness with being around people you love. Often times, grief can induce guilt when having any emotion other than sadness. Know that you should feel happy when you do, and there is nothing to be guilty about, just as there is nothing to feel guilty about when you have feelings of sadness.
Seek support from a mental health professional. You do not have to suffer with your feelings alone. Talking to a therapist or counselor can help you express your emotions and process them during this difficult time.
Do not put pressure on yourself. If you feel like you cannot manage the responsibilities you may usually have during the holiday season, be realistic about it. Do not force yourself to do anything you do not feel capable of doing. This is a way to treat yourself with kindness and understanding.
Surround yourself with people who love and support you. Frequently, grief makes people want to isolate themselves, but when you spend time with people who love you, it will make the holidays more manageable and you will not feel alone with your sadness. You will feel comforted by the presence of the people who are closest to you.
Create new traditions. Some traditions may be comforting to maintain. However, sometimes it hurts too much to try to continue certain traditions without the person who had once brought them to life. Take this opportunity to create new traditions that make sense for your current state.
If you are experiencing long-lasting grief, you may be suffering from grief induced depression. Neurofeedback can help. Schedule a free consultation with our director Dr. Jolene Ross to further understand how Advanced Neurotherapy can help you this holiday season.