Whether your loss happened recently or a long time ago, Christmas can be an emotional time. I lost my mum 14 years ago and my dad 7 years ago but there are still some years where I find it more challenging than others.
These occasions are often the time when people get together to celebrate with family and friends, so if you’ve experienced loss, this can feel like a pretty stark reminder of that. While everyone reacts differently, a lot of people find this time difficult.
Here’s 10 tips that might just help you out:
- Talk about it. Friends and family will be grateful if you tell them openly and honestly what you need. It helps them to know how they can help you as people often aren’t sure what to say or do.
- If you’re going “all in” with Christmas, schedule time each day to honour your loss and hit the pause button to check in with how you’re really feeling. You might even choose to perform a small ritual such as lighting a candle or looking over some old photos.
- Plan at least one self-care activity each day just for you. This is the time to prioritise your needs too. This doesn’t have to an expensive activity. It can be as simple as hunkering down under a cosy blanket and watching your favourite movie.
- Ask for support. It’s fine if you want to spend some time alone. Just remember not to isolate yourself. Ask a friend to check in with you now and again. If you feel like you’re struggling, ask for professional support. It’s a strength to reach out for help.
- If you feel like this Christmas will be tough for you, say so. Release any expectations of yourself and other people. If you don’t want to talk about it, have a go at journaling.
- Be okay with how you feel. There are no rules on your grief journey. Juts meet yourself wherever you’re at each day. There’s no need to beat yourself up if you feel sad and depressed or cry; know that this is completely normal. Keep the faith that things will get better.
- Find something that gives you a little mood lift. Whether that’s a night out with a friend, a silly cat video or an inspirational quote. Make a list of all the things that bring a laugh or two and re-visit this on your tough days.
- Enjoy a Christmas drink, but be aware that this isn’t a healthy way of numbing your pain. Forming unhealthy habits will worsen your grief in the long run. Know your limit.
- Make space for a little festive fun. All the clichés about “life is for living” are possibly the last thing you want to hear – I get that. Just remember that your loved one would want you to find some relief from your pain and find some moments of joy. It’s not a “disrespectful” thing. It’s a healing thing.
- Celebrate that you made it through the day. Not only are you surviving this, you are taking control and finding ways to get through Christmas in your own way. That takes courage and strength.
I always say, “It isn’t that time is the healer, it’s just that healing takes time”. At some point in the future, special occasions like Christmas can help us to focus on happier memories of good times shared in the past. Just know that it will start to feel better as you move along this journey.
I’m here to help so please drop me a line if you’d like to explore what support looks like for you.