Whether your loss happened recently or a long time ago, Christmas can be an emotional time. Especially now since you may be feeling increasingly isolated or missing family and friends.
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. The pandemic has made me think of them all the more.
These occasions are often the time when people are celebrating and even though things look pretty different this year, it’s still a stark reminder of those who aren’t here with us. While everyone reacts differently, a lot of people find this time difficult.
Here’s 10 tips that might just help you out during this unique Christmas:
- Talk about it. Friends and family will be grateful if you tell them openly and honestly what they can do to help – even if it’s from a physical distance, we can still feel emotionally connected.
- If you’re going “all in” with Christmas at home, 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 small 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, or getting some fresh air for 10 minutes.
- Ask for support. It’s fine if you want to spend some time alone and stay offline. Just remember not to isolate yourself completely. 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 or expressing your emotions in other ways.
- 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.
- Find something that gives you a little mood lift. Whether that’s a Zoom chat with a friend, a comedy 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. Look after your physical needs.
- Make space for a little festive fun. All the clichés about “life is for living” are possibly the last things 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 in this unprecedented year. 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, and you will be able to create some new ones.
Just know that grief will start to feel lighter as you move along this journey.
I’m here to help so please drop me a line if you’d like to talk.