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How to cope with grief during the holidays

The Christmas period can be a very difficult time of year for many, particularly after experiencing the loss of a loved one. It’s a period where feelings of sadness and loneliness can be heightened, making it difficult to engage in festive activities.

There is no right or wrong way to experience grief during the holiday period. It may mean that you choose to celebrate differently or not at all, and identifying the ways which feel right for you can make it easier to plan ahead.

We’ve pulled together some tips which might help you through this period:

Acknowledge your grief

Grief is a universal experience and is completely normal. We will all go through it at some point in our lives but that doesn’t mean that each person’s grief looks and feels the same.

The Christmas period can bring up particularly difficult emotions, such as sadness, anger, loneliness and guilt. Take time for yourself to tune into your emotions, acknowledge where you can feel them in your body and make space to hold whatever comes up for you.

A guided grief meditation can provide a helpful introduction to acknowledging your emotions:

Take care of yourself

The Christmas period is one where routine can easily go out the window. Sticking to regular sleeping and eating patterns can make a difference to your mental health.

Additionally, it can be tempting to drink more than usual over this period, especially if you’re using alcohol to try to numb the pain of grief. Remember that this only provides temporary relief and can have negative consequences. You can find extra alcohol support on the NHS website.

Keep their memory alive

Keep the connection with your loved one going by finding ways to keep their memory alive. If you prefer to do this privately, this may involve writing or talking to them, keeping one of their personal belongings with you or visiting their resting place. If you wish to share this with friends and family, you may want to get together to share photos and memories of your loved one.

Cruse Bereavement Support has collected ways to remember someone at Christmas here.

Talk to someone

Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, family or a helpline if you’re struggling with grief over the Christmas period.

Cruse Bereavement Service has a helpline and virtual chat service run by trained bereavement volunteers who are there to offer emotional support. You can find out how to access their service and opening times here.

Consider therapy

If you’ve been struggling with the loss of a loved one for a long time and the grief is impacting your life, it might be helpful to speak with a therapist. Therapy can offer you a non-judgemental space to explore your thoughts and work with some of the difficult feelings that you’ve been experiencing.

Power to Live offers low-cost psychotherapy starting from just £5 per session*. If you’re interested in starting your therapy journey or finding out more, book your free assessment with one of our friendly Senior Clinicians today.

*pricing is means-tested based on income. For our full price list, visit here.

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