Christmas is often referred to as the “most wonderful time of the year”, but for many that have experienced a bereavement, the death of a loved one can make Christmas an extremely difficult time for a variety of reasons. I know this because I lost my sister just before Christmas last year but realised I had to get right back into the spirit of the season to ensure that I kept things as normal as possible for our children.
Christmas can be one of the hardest times of the year to get through if you are mourning a loved one. Whether it’s a close family member or even a friend, whether the passing is recent or many years ago. It can be a challenge to enjoy the festivities that serve as a reminder of past Christmas’s spent together, or a time that you would normally reconnect with a loved one that is no longer with you.
People I spoke to going through something similar find themselves hiding away, and dreading the thought of Christmas as it fast approaches, whilst others continue with traditions as a way of paying tribute to their loved one – everyone mourns differently.
However, with that in mind it is important to allow yourself to have the space and time to grieve whilst remembering to be kind to yourself. Being kind to yourself includes taking care of your mental health and wellbeing during the holidays, which can be difficult if you are grieving. It is easy to forget routines and often things such as eating, or eating healthily can be forgotten about so it is important to be aware of what you are eating and drinking.
Here are some tips to help you cope with grief during the festive season:
- Use Christmas and any time that you may have off from work to take a break, do something that you want to do, whether that be to take a stroll through your local park, read a book or to meet up with friends and family. Don’t put added pressure on yourself, as it is important to use this time to go at your own pace.
- Do some exercise or a physical activity like gardening! You will be surprised to know that even a little goes a long way when it comes to exercise. Not only does it have its physical benefits, research shows that it also does wonders for the mind due to the endorphins that are released that both uplift your mood and help you relax.
- Find a distraction if you can, mine was Amazon’s The Marvellous Mrs Maisel! We all grieve differently, always keep that in mind.
- Asking for help or seeking support is vital. You do not have to grieve on your own. Whether you want to talk to family members, friends, or would prefer to discuss how you are feeling and coping with your GP or even a charity (there are many charities to choose from). It is important to take those first steps in sharing your thoughts and feelings with others that are there to listen and support you during your time of need.
Remember that the Internet is a great place to access information and find support all year round. Also, whether it’s online or locally there are a great number of charities that are open during the Christmas period including Cruse Bereavement Care 0808 808 1677.