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Coping with Grief During the Holidays

The holidays can be a very difficult time for those who have lost a loved one and this year those struggles are even more present in light of Covid-19. After the death of someone precious to you, the holidays can look very different, and it can be hard to figure out how to navigate it all. Below you will find a list of some suggestions on how to care for yourself, while also honoring your loved one’s memory.

Holiday Planning – The holidays come with many traditions and expectations – as a griever these expectations you place on yourself or that others place on you can feel very overwhelming. You might be feeling a sense of obligation, or even experiencing pressure by what you feel you should or shouldn’t do. These emotions can often lead to stress and anxiety and making a plan will help elevate some of those feelings.

Remember it’s okay to say no, and it’s okay to plan new traditions and move away from old ones. You might need to scale back or change things up. That’s okay. Just remember to share your plans with other family members.

Remember Them – Even though your loved ones is no longer physically present, they remain forever in your hearts. It’s important to find ways to continue your relationship with them and to honor their beloved memory during the holiday season.

Hang their stocking and fill it with notes of love. Light a candle or save a seat at the table in their honor. Cook their favorite meal. Take time to share your most cherished memories as a family (this is great to do virtually with those who can’t be with you this year).

Be Kind to Yourself – The holidays can be very painful, so please be kind and gentle with yourself. Pay attention to what you need and how you feel supported.

Take care of yourself physically by getting plenty of sleep, staying hydrated, limiting alcohol and getting outside for some fresh air.

Take care of yourself emotionally by connecting with others (friends, family, faith community or online support) to decrease feelings of isolation. Share your struggles with a trusted friend or professional. Hold tight to those things that bring you comfort. Give yourself permission to say no – some things may just be too difficult to do this year.

If you need extra support this holiday season, please reach out to Lifeline of Ohio’s Bereavement Coordinators – they are available to provide a listening ear, a helpful article or other ideas of carrying on your loved one’s memory.

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