Tips for Making it Through the Holidays After the Loss of a Loved OneSubmitted by Heritage Financial Services, LLC on November 28th, 2017
Holidays are a stressful time normally, but when you’re grieving, they can feel almost unbearable. Traditions, family time, sights, and smells can all remind us of that missing person. Below are some tips to ease this difficult time.
- Reduce stressful situations. The holidays are full of stressful situations and to-do lists. Limit your responsibilities to reduce your extra stress this season. Ask another family member to host, request a potluck instead of cooking, limit your decorations, or enlist help in wrapping. Try to shift your “I shoulds” to “I may if I feel like it” to give yourself permission to ease up.
- Feel free to change (or keep) traditions as you want. After someone dies, our old traditions may lose meaning or be too painful. It is okay, and often helpful, to change things up. You may want to change your traditional meal, celebrate on a different day, or even take a vacation. On the other hand, do not let others persuade you to change traditions if they bring you comfort. There is no right or wrong to grief, especially during the holidays.
- Include the person who died. Even though that person is no longer physically present, they can still be included in our holidays. Have everyone share memories during a meal, do their favorite tradition as a group, or give others gifts “from” them. Finding ways to include them in your holidays can bring some joy to your sorrow.
- Simplify the shopping. Shopping can be one of the most stressful and overwhelming aspects of the holidays. Fighting crowds and seeing thousands of merry shoppers while you are grieving can often be too much. We also frequently overspend when we are grieving, so it is important to plan ahead, make a budget, and stick with it. Consider ways to simplify – shop online, give a shopping list to a friend, or give gifts of special items that belonged to the person who died along with a note explaining the meaning behind it.
- Pay it forward. Many people find comfort and hope by helping others, especially during the holiday season. Volunteer as a family, donate to a cause that was important to the person who died, or adopt a family in need. These can be meaningful ways to create a legacy for your special person and provide some light in your darkness.
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