Christmas Grief and Loss: 5 Strategies to Help You Through the Holiday Season

Christmas Grief and Loss: 5 Strategies to Help You Through the Holiday Season

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” ~ Havelock Ellis.

Christmas is traditionally a time of celebration, meeting of family and friends, delicious food, and giving of gifts. Everywhere we see messages of happiness and connection.

Yet, this time of the year can put a lot of stress on relationships, with increased numbers of break-ups and divorce. And for those who have lost a loved one, Christmas grief can make the holiday season especially lonely and challenging.

There are constant reminders of what is missing in your life, and this can cause a see-saw of emotions as memories of Christmas’s past come to mind. In particular, leading up to Christmas, people ask “What are you doing for Christmas?”, or “Who are you spending Christmas with?” These are questions that cause you to revisit the loss again and again.

You may have noticed a tendency to push emotions and memories away. Its as if you are holding them at arm’s length so you don’t have to feel the pain. But this can result in a tipping point of overwhelm down the track. Or getting so caught up in the emotions and memories that you are unable to focus on anything in the present moment. I liken this to getting stuck in a powerful whirlpool – it sucks in everything it touches, causing you to feel withdrawn and to isolate yourself from family and friends.

HOW TO EASE THE PAIN OF CHRISTMAS GRIEF

♥  Be mindful about how you’re feeling Here are a couple of ways you can do this.

1. Share your feelings. It is important to deal with your emotions when they come up. You can do this by talking to someone you trust and feel comfortable with or writing in a journal

There is no grief like the grief that does not speak. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

2. Don’t put pressure on yourself to put on the “I’m Okay” mask. There are times when you need to put it on, but wearing it all the time will become exhausting. Accept that it’s normal not to feel so great at this time of the year, and that those closest to you will understand this too. 

♥  Make plans for Christmas day – Being alone can intensify feelings and thoughts about your loss. Having somewhere to go or something to do on Christmas day, even for a couple of hours, will break up the day and create opportunities for support and connection. Marcus Tullius Cicero said, “Friendship improves happiness and [reduces] misery, by doubling [your] joy and dividing [your] grief.”

♥  Be aware of what you need and let other people know – Only you know how much socialising you can manage comfortably. When you leave friends and family to figure it out, it can lead to misunderstandings or assumptions you want to be on your own. 

♥  Give yourself permission to enjoy yourself if you want to – There are going to be moments when you do feel okay or even happy, or forget your grief for a moment. This is not a betrayal of your loved one. It is part of healing and will happen more and more as you move through your grief. 

♥  Do things that make you feel good – When you get ‘lost’ in an activity you are giving yourself a break from the grief. This is an important element of the healing process. 

In summary, even though your grief can often be more acute during the Christmas season, you can navigate it more successfully if you put some strategies in place like the ones above. 

Note: If you want to know more about how to support a grieving friend click here.

 I realized, it is not the time that heals, but what we do within that time that creates positive change. ~ Diane Dettman

Lets Talk

If you are starting to feel stuck in your grief, then please call me for a Free 15 minute consultation. We can talk about what is going on for you and I can answer any questions you might have. If I am with a client I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Note: If you need support across the Christmas period and I am unavailable please call Lifeline on 13 11 14. They are open 24 hours a day, everyday, including Christmas day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.

or if you are ready to book now

Lets Talk

If you are starting to feel stuck in your grief, then please call me for a Free 15 minute consultation. We can talk about what is going on for you and I can answer any questions you might have. If I am with a client I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Note: If you need support across the Christmas period and I am unavailable please call Lifeline on 13 11 14. They are open 24 hours a day, everyday, including Christmas day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.

or if you are ready to book now

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