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Mid Coast Center for Community Health & Wellness Newsletter
December 2019
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Coping with Grief During the Holidays

Grief and the Holidays

There is no right or wrong way to handle grief during the holidays. Some may wish to follow family traditions, while others may choose to change their annual routines.

If you find yourself struggling with grief during the holidays, try following these tips:

  • Focus on Seasonal Winter Activities: Go to a mountain lodge, or spend an afternoon sledding or skiing. Simply taking a brisk walk outside can help you find a sense of peace. Time outside will help you enjoy what nature has to offer during this season. You may also wish to take time to rest indoors, such as enjoying a good book or watching a favorite movie.
  • Include the Deceased in Your Celebrations: Hang a stocking for your loved one, then let friends and family place notes inside that describe their thoughts or feelings. Look at photographs from the past. Once others realize you are comfortable talking about your loved one, they can share stories that will add to your pleasant memories.
  • Be Mindful of Emotions: Keep the feelings of your children or family members in mind. Try to make the holiday season as joyous as possible for them. Similarly, plan to be with the people whose company you enjoy most.
  • Do Something for Others: Consider volunteering at a soup kitchen or local hospital on the holiday. You can also visit shut-ins to provide some cheer. Ask someone who is lonely to share the special day with your family, or provide help for a needy family in your community. Donate a gift or money in your loved one’s memory.
  • Express Your Feelings: Tell people how you are feeling. Allow those around you to offer comfort. This may make you feel better, and it will also help your loved ones feel like they are helping in some way.

Remember that anticipation of the holiday season is often much worse than the holiday itself. With support and proper self-care, you may even find the season unexpectedly enjoyable.

If you need help coping with grief during the holidays, attend a local grief support group such as those offered by CHANS Home Health & Hospice.


 Adapted from Bereavement & Loss Resources, November / December 1993.

Rivendell Resources grants anyone the right to reprint this information without request for compensation so long as the copy is not used for profit and so long as this paragraph is reprinted in its entirety with any copied portion. For further information contact: Cendra Lynn, Ph.D. - Cendra@griefnet.org.

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