In previous years, holiday cheer has been what helps us unwind and get ready for the July summer break, but as time has proven, 2021 is anything but like previous years and as a result, the holiday season is likely to be not a happy time of year for everyone, especially when you consider that many are battling with grief that has arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The death of a loved one is always a difficult thing to endure but even more so when you’re grieving during a pandemic. Be it social distancing rules, travel restrictions, or the fact that other people have to battle with their own pandemic stress, those grieving may be robbed of the love and strength that they need to move forward, once again emphasizing the emotional benefits of physical presence and physical touch.
With that said, with the coming holiday season ahead, here’s how you can manage your grief during the ongoing pandemic.
11 Ways To Manage Grief During The Holidays
1. Acknowledge your emotions
After a loss, you might just want to push your emotions to the side and keep things moving but the fact is ignoring your emotions won’t make them go away.
It’s OK to not feel OK. Ride the wave of emotions that come with grieving and give yourself enough time to properly process and recognize your emotions. Additionally, as it is the holiday season and you may be spending time with family and friends, remember that you have the permission to laugh and experience joy.
Never feel guilty about what you’re feeling.
2. Find some alone time
When you’re grieving, it’s important to find time to be alone as this is especially important during the holiday season as the month of December can be quite overwhelming and triggering.
3. Plan ahead
There are a lot of events and meet-ups that often happen during the festive season and as a result, it’s important to plan ahead, especially if the deceased loved one often played a prominent role during the planning of these events. As a result, it may be best to plan ahead, especially since doing so can help to avoid potential triggers.
Additionally, planning ahead can also provide you with a sense of control, especially during a time when you feel that you have none.
4. Set boundaries
You don’t owe anyone anything and while you may feel pressured to participate in events that you’d rather not and you have every right to politely decline if you feel that you’re not up for it.
5. Honour Old Holiday Traditions
You can try to honor and celebrate your late loved one by keeping up with holiday traditions the same way as you did before. This will help you to relive the good old days as well as keep their memory present.
6. Create New Traditions
In addition to honoring old traditions, you can also create new ones, especially as some people may find it too difficult to keep their usual traditions. Additionally, creating new traditions can help with the grieving process and offer a welcome distraction.
7. Connect With Others
While it’s important to spend some time alone so that you can properly process your emotions, it’s also important to surround yourself with loved ones if you can.
8. Practice self-care
Stress can impact your body in a number of ways, and so can grief. This is why it’s important to pause and adopt some self-care habits that include exercising, getting enough sleep, eating well, as well as meditating, and reaching out when you need to.
9. Reach out
Your feelings are valid and while you may want to feign strength because it’s the holiday season, you need not shy away from reaching out for help if you need to.
Don’t feel embarrassed to let those around you know that you’re struggling. If you worry that reaching out to those around you may dampen their holiday spirit, you can also contact a grief support group or a counselor.
10. Spread the festive spirit
The past year has been a difficult year for everyone, so perhaps spreading some joy may be what you need to help you manage your grief.
From visiting a food bank to donating to a COVID- relief organization, doing some good can help alleviate your sadness and help in the healing process.
11. Be Kind to Yourself
Grieving is not linear and frankly, there’s no right way to do it. Therefore, it’s important that you practice patience and be kind to yourself during this period of your life.
It may be the holiday season, but there’s no reason as to why you need to pretend that it’s happier than it is. Just remember to get all the necessary rest and nourishment, acknowledge your emotions, and do whatever feels right to you during this difficult time.