Understanding Holiday Grief + Ways To Cope With Grief During The Holidays

Last Update on November 25, 2022 : Published on November 27, 2022

Cheers everywhere! It’s the holidays! This is exactly what people expect during the holidays, right? Cheers and celebrations are everywhere, and while holidays are meant to be joyful, some people are struggling with weight, heavier than a boulder in their hearts. Grief isn’t easy to deal with in itself, and it’s harder when it’s the holiday season.

If you’ve lost someone this year or are still reeling from years-old loss during the holiday season, then you might be familiar with the grief currently swirling in your hearts. If yes, then you need to understand that you’re not alone.

Holiday traditions – while unintentional – can only bring up the painful reminder of your loss and the happiness of embracing the season can be overshadowed by isolation and loneliness.

Dealing with grief during the holidays is never easy, but there are ways you can feel supported and less lonely. Below, I’ve compiled some easy ways to cope with grief during the holidays.

Ways To Cope With Holiday Grief

1. Understand Your Feelings

Suppressing your feelings, even if it is grief, can’t be good for you. If you’re struggling with grief, then you need to acknowledge and accept your feelings. You may feel sad one day, and the next, you’ll want to indulge in the holiday cheer. No matter what, remember that your feelings are valid. Allow yourself to understand and accept the feelings.

2. Don’t Avoid The Grief

Grief can bring so many emotions to the forefront and it’s common (even a relief) to avoid those emotions. However, avoiding grief can only stretch and snap without warning and the backlash from that can hurt worse. So instead of avoiding grief, try to accept it. One emotion at a time, though.

3. Be Kind To Yourself

It’s hard to be kind to yourself when all you’re surrounded by is a sense of loss and loneliness. Even though you’re struggling with grief during the holidays, you need to understand that self-compassion is a must. If an activity becomes too overwhelming, don’t force yourself to stay just because others are. Give yourself a break and take time to be kind to yourself and care for yourself during these difficult times.

4. Share Your Needs With Others

Holidays bring an opportunity to slow down from your fast-paced life and reconnect with your loved ones, but when you’re missing a loved one, what can you do? Well, during the times when your grief overpowers, understand what you need, and share it with your other loved ones. What you need shouldn’t be neglected just because it’s the holidays.

5. Honor Your Lost Loved Ones

Holiday traditions are important and so is honoring the ones we’ve lost. If you’re coping with grief during the holidays, try to honor your loved ones. You can do simple things such as making their favorite dish or serving their favorite dessert. You can also try these things to honor your lost loved one;

  • Decorate in their favorite colors
  • Play their favorite holiday songs
  • Light a candle in their memory
  • Make memorial ornaments or wreaths

6. Set Healthy Yet Realistic Expectations

Boundaries and expectations are as important during the holidays as they are in your daily life, so set healthy yet realistic expectations for yourself and others. If you can’t seem to think that you can control your tears, then don’t expect it from yourself. Be fair and kind to yourself as you would be to others.

7. Join A Support Group

You’re not the only one struggling with grief during the holidays. Many people have lost a loved one recently or might be still grieving over a lost one, years later. No matter the circumstances, you’re not alone, so instead of carrying on your grief alone, try to join a support group. Being around people with similar experiences can help you feel heard and seen.

8. Opt-Out Of The Celebrations

Just because everyone else is participating in the holiday festivities, doesn’t mean that you have to do it too. If the idea of the celebrations becomes too much, you can choose to opt out of the festivities. Instead of forcing yourself to celebrate, you can choose to go hiking, watch a movie, or do nothing special. It’s all about accepting your feelings, after all.

9. Go, Volunteer

One of the best ways to cope with grief during the holidays is to spend time with others. Volunteering is a good place to start. You can reach out to your local community or even your favorite charity and get involved in their festivities. Supporting a cause, you (or your loved one) cared about can help you cope with holiday grief.

10. Do What Feels Right

There are no rules when it comes to grief so whatever feels right to you, do that. If spending time with others makes you feel better, go for it, or if spending time alone eases your turbulent feelings, then who’s to say you’re wrong? Do whatever feels right for you. No one is there to judge you on how you care for your feelings.

11. Change Your Scenery

Most people can associate their hometown as the center of their grief and if you’re one of them who feels that going back to a place where you have most memories with your loved one will hurt, then you can change your scenery. Try to disconnect yourself from the place that enhances your grief, but don’t avoid the grief.

12. Start New Traditions

Holiday traditions don’t stay the same forever so if you want to participate in the holidays with the memories of your lost loved one but don’t want to keep the old traditions, then make new ones. Talk to your other family members about your thoughts and feelings and come up with a new tradition that includes your lost one but also gives you space to breathe around the grief.

13. Speak To A Grief Counselor

Grief, even years later, can hit hard, especially during the holidays. If you’re struggling with grief during the holidays and can’t find it easier to cope with holiday grief, then you can try to reach out to a grief counselor or a therapist for help.

A counselor can offer a non-judgmental and safe space to process your grief and can even give perspective to help you deal with the grief.

You don’t have to carry on the heavy boulder of grief all the time, especially during the holidays, but if you are, then you can try these holiday grief tips to deal with grief during the holidays.

There’s no right or wrong way to cope with grief during the holidays, so try to do what feels good to you. But always remember, you’re not alone. There are your loved ones, professionals, and other resources to help you cope with grief, especially during the festivities.

I hope this blog helped. For more, you can write to us at info@calmsage.com or DM us on social media. You can also share your tips to cope with grief during the holidays in the comments below.

Take Care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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