For many people the Holidays is a constant reminder for loved ones no longer being around and loneliness. Being lonely on the holidays in general can lead to depression and even suicidal ideation. During the holidays, suicidal attempts increase as people often feel they will not be missed if they aren’t around—which isn’t true! I wanted to list 10 things you can do to grieve a loved one in a positive way and 5 things you can do to support someone who is missing a loved one for the holidays.
10 tips for coping with grief during the holidays:
- Acknowledge the holidays will be different and tough at time.The holidays will always be different once a loved one is gone but the more you can accept it, the easier it will become over time
- Decide what traditions to keepIf your mom liked to make hot chocolate before decorating the tree and you enjoyed it as well keep it going!
- Make a new tradition in memory of your loved oneLighting a candle in their memory or having a big celebration before opening presents in honor of them could be great new traditions
- Decide where you want to spend the holidaysMaybe at a soup kitchen giving back or spending it with friends
- Journal when you have thoughts of them-good or badSometimes letting it out on paper is the best method to get overconsuming thoughts out of your head
- Seek a therapistIt’s never too late to seek support and guidance about this part in your life
- Skip the holidays if you feel overwhelmedSometimes large crowds of people or the music can be overwhelming. It’s okay to want to decline to participate if it does not turn into severe isolation
- Attend a grief groupThey often have some on the actual holidays and can be extremely helpful
- Don’t feel guilty about crying its totally okay and normalCrying is such a healthy tool for grieving; don’t ever feel guilty about letting it out!
- Splurge on a gift for yourselfTime to get that watch or purse you have been eyeing for months
5 tips for supporting a loved one who is missing their loved one during the holidays
- Invite them to celebrate the holidays with you and your familyIt can be almost like adopt a friend for the holidays where they can become part of your holiday traditions and make new ones!
- Be a listening ear for when they want to talk about their loved oneOften we are scared to say the wrong thing, sometimes they just want you to listen while they talk so don’t be afraid to reach out
- Create a holiday tradition with themCreate your own tradition with them by going to dinner on Christmas EVE or making cookies on Christmas.
- Don’t pressure them to do things during the holidays if they are truly against itDon’t be a pushy friend, if they don’t seem to be a harm to themselves and just want some quiet let them have it. If you are too pushy, you will make them even more upset.
- Pray for themPrayer never hurts