Grief during the holidays

By arhospice on November 25th, 2019 in Blog, Grief Support

The holidays are often thought of as joyful times of the year, filled with sights and sounds of seasonal cheer. Yet for people struggling with the death of a family member or other loved one, the holidays can be a difficult time.

The season may be full of reminders of the loss in our lives. And it is not just recent losses. During the holidays, feelings of grief can seem fresh, even if a loved one died years ago. Of course, dealing with the pandemic makes this year even more difficult.

Arkansas Hospice, in conjunction with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, offers the following suggestions for holiday grief. If you are suffering with the loss of a loved one and have asked yourself, “How will I be able to make it through the holidays?” here are a few ways to cope during this difficult time:

  • Plan for the approaching holiday. Be aware that this might be a difficult time for you. The stress may affect you emotionally, mentally and physically. This is a normal reaction.
  • Recognize that the holidays won’t be the same. Expecting everything to seem the same might lead to disappointment. Doing things a bit differently acknowledges the change in your life but still offers continuity with the past.
  • Be careful not to isolate yourself. It’s important to take quiet, reflective time for yourself but also allow yourself the support offered from friends and family. While the pandemic has made it difficult to visit in-person, phone calls can still provide a special way to express your thoughts and feelings. If possible, plan ahead with your friends and family members to set aside plenty of time, so you won’t feel rushed.
  • Surround yourself with life, people and activity. Connect with your family and friends and be honest with them about how you are feeling. Express to them that emotional support is important, especially during the holidays. While travel and large gatherings won’t be possible for most of us during this time of social distancing, we can still reach out across the miles to connect with loved ones by phone calls or virtual means.
  • Honor the people missing in your life. Call to mind pleasurable memories of your loved one or share special photographs with your family and friends. While remembering may be painful, it is also therapeutic.
  • Take care of yourself. A grieving body is more susceptible to illness and needs proper nourishment and rest. Eat right and get enough sleep, and don’t forget to exercise. An increased production of endorphins can create a positive attitude and help reduce stress.
  • Give to others. Giving to others warms your heart, puts your life in perspective and takes the focus off your own feelings. Any random act of kindness will make you feel better and will help take your mind off your sorrows.
  • Allow yourself to cry when you feel you need to cry. Ignore any voice telling you to be strong and not to cry. Crying can actually help reduce your stress and anxiety.

If you or a loved one are dealing with loss this holiday season, please feel free to reach out to our community based grief support. CLICK HERE for a list of available resources on our website.

14 Parkstone Circle | North Little Rock, AR 72116
(501) 748-3333 or Toll Free (877) 713-2348
contactus@arkansashospice.org
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