How to Cope with Grief during the Holidays

With the year coming to an end, people are getting together with friends and family to celebrate the year-end festivities. However, for individuals who have recently lost a loved one or experienced the passing of a loved one near the holiday season, celebrations and special occasions can be difficult to look forward to.

Coping with grief is no easy feat, let alone during a time of celebration. It is normal to re-encounter feelings of grief and loss more than usual this time of the year. In this article, we share with you some ways you can cope with grief during the festive season.

1. Recognise and Acknowledge Your Feelings

Grief is a complex emotion that takes time to heal. While it does not completely disappear with time, the intensity of the feeling may lessen and occasionally comes back in waves. Do not suppress your feelings and instead, be aware of how you are feeling, process it and understand that it’s okay to grief. 

2. Honour Old Traditions or Create New Ones

Reminiscing a departed loved one through old traditions can be a way to keep memories of them alive. Keeping to a routine such as dinner gatherings or visiting a place that holds special meaning to you both can bring comfort to you while honouring the deceased. Feel free to also try new traditions such as scrapbooking that allow you to remember your loved one as well as something you can start looking forward to.

3. It’s Okay to Say “No”

You may receive invitations for festive gatherings during the holidays. Know that it is okay to turn down these invitations if you find yourself not ready to join in. Nonetheless, it is important for you to express your thoughts and feelings with people you trust and allow them to understand and support you in ways you may need during this difficult time.

4. Plan Ahead

If you are participating in any festivities, it pays to plan your schedule ahead of time so as to cater for any personal time and space you may need for yourself. Having a flexible schedule also enables you to rearrange your plans accordingly.

5. Give Back in the Name of Your Loved One

Honour the memory of your loved one by donating or giving back to society in their name. If Christmas parties and gatherings aren’t your thing, why not take some time out to spread joy during the holiday season? Think of a cause or organisation that your loved one dedicated their time to. Whether it’s volunteering at a soup kitchen or helping out at an animal shelter, you can carry on their legacy whilst keeping them in your heart and memory.

Everyone mourns differently, and the holiday season may trigger stronger feelings of grief and loss. Remember to not compare your personal journey with grief and loss with others. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself to experience grief as part of the healing process.

For those interested, check out our bite-sized infographic below for more information. 

For more information and resources on dealing with grief, you may visit https://www.griefmatters.org.sg/.