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Coping with loss during the holiday season
Mental Health

Coping with loss during the holiday season

By Tekeima Townsend-Billups, Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, Methodist Healthcare Hospice Chaplain
Posted: December 23, 2020

The holiday season is joyous. It is one of the seasons people most look forward to celebrating; a season often seen as a pleasant, peaceful and a happy closure of the year’s happenings.

However, in the midst of all of the excitement and merriment, those who are grieving tend to feel more sadness than joy. The season that was once the most wonderful time of the year becomes a painful reminder of significant loss.

While grief — the natural and normal reaction to loss — is unavoidable, some of these suggestions may add a comforting light to your journey as you cope with loss during the holidays.

Let go of the myths about how you should be grieving

This suggestion alone has the ability to eliminate much of the heaviness we carry as grievers. Our grieving processes are as unique as we are as individuals. Grieve in ways that are natural and healthy for you, like seeking quiet time, talking about your feelings or even crying. Do not feel like you have to grieve in ways that are imposed upon you by others.

Practice self-care

Don’t engage in activities that call for you to keep up appearances and seem “okay,” especially when you are not feeling okay. Self-care includes being honest about what you feel and what you need — and allowing that to lead the way in which you respond to and care for yourself.


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Honor meaningful traditions

Participate in holiday traditions, family and/or religious, that have been meaningful to you and create new holiday traditions if you’re open to it. Participation in traditions that are dear to you creates a sense of comfort that comes from happy and loving memories. Creating new traditions provides an opportunity for you to live in the present with renewed intent and purpose.

Remember your blessings

This practice in no way suggests that the pain of grief is miraculously eliminated, however, it seeks to help us remember that the good things we experience while we also grieve deserve to be recognized. When we “count our blessings,” it enhances our gratitude and magnifies the goodness in our lives.

Seek counseling if needed

There are times when more help is needed for those of us who grieve. If you find yourself feeling like your current responses to grief have not helped your process, contact a professional counselor to assist you further.

Help is available for everyone

If your employer doesn't offer EAP services, the Living Well Network is here to help.

LWN connects people to behavioral health resources, educates people about mental health and advocates for more communication and resources for mental health.

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