The holiday season can be challenging for people grieving a loss. Meeting with friends and relatives during your lowest moments can rekindle the memories or highlight the absence of a deceased loved one. Although you may not be able to pause grieving just because everyone else is having fun, there are a few things to help you cope during these challenging times. Let’s take a look:
Understand the Grieving Process
Grief is stressful and different for everyone. If you have not lost a loved one, you may not easily comprehend how the grieving person feels. Understanding what the grieving person is going through is the first step towards comforting them.
The grieving process model by Kubler Ross is comprised of five steps that can affect the person who’s about to pass on and their loved ones. These stages occur before or after death, and different individuals will handle the entire process differently. The stages include;
- Denial & isolation- It may be hard for the affected person to accept the outcome during this stage. They may avoid talking about the illness, distance themselves from relatives and friends, or even blame others for the outcome.
- Anger- The anger stage occurs when the affected person accepts the outcome and may question their religion or faith. The person may start confronting their friends, relatives, and society about their uncaring attitudes.
- Bargaining- The bargaining stage occurs when the person has let out all the anger and tries to engage God or higher powers that if they reform, they will be allowed to live to perform a specific task.
- Depression- This is where reality starts hitting the affected person. They will begin to accept that loss is inevitable. Depression can occur due to a loss or change of circumstances after losing independence, intimacy, or finances. This is what most people refer to as holiday blues. The holiday blues occurs when one starts missing a loved one or gets negative feelings from past memories.
- Acceptance- If a person realizes that they are about to pass on, they may start losing interest in worldly pleasures, detach themselves from relatives, and get the desire to be left alone. On the other hand, this is where the deceased’s loved ones start to heal.
Coping with Grief During the Holidays
1.) Set boundaries with the holiday events
While your friends or relatives may pressure you to participate in a particular holiday event, you have the right to choose whether or not to attend. You may choose to attend and engage in some fun activities without pressuring yourself to be there the whole time.
2.) Honor old traditions and memories
Keeping up with old traditions during the holidays allows you to celebrate the deceased and keep their memories alive.
3.) Create New Traditions
Setting new traditions for the holiday season can come in handy for individuals still undergoing the healing process. Remember that the deceased loved one may want you to enjoy your holiday uniquely, so don’t limit yourself from setting new traditions.
How to Positively Help Loved Ones Cope with Grief During the Holidays
- Be patient and understanding
It’s normal for a grieving person to distance themselves from you. You need to understand what they’re going through and be patient with them until they’re ready to interact again.
- Help with errands and other tasks
There’s so much to deal with when one is grieving, from making funeral arrangements to preparing meals and medical care. Always ask them how you can be of help with certain errands or tasks.
- Be available and a good listener
If you want to comfort an affected loved one, you need to listen to them and always be available during challenging times.
- Keep in touch and provide reassurance
Calling frequently and sending sympathy cards may go a long way to comfort the affected person. Besides, you also need to offer reassurance and not let survivors’ guilt take control of their emotions. Always let them know that they’re loved.
Contact denova Collaborative Healthcare for a Mental Health Appointment
The events after losing a loved one can be filled with anxiety and sadness, resulting in severe mental health problems. At denova Collaborative Healthcare, we will help you cope with grief and experience more positivity throughout your holidays. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our professional therapists.