Holidays have always been a time to spend with Family and Loved Ones. These Holidays bring meaning to certain days and are for being with those we love the most. But if you have lost someone you loved the most, it can seem entirely impossible to be in a celebratory mood during the Holidays. For many people, this is the hardest part of grieving, when we miss our loved ones even more than usual. How can you celebrate togetherness when there is none? When you have lost someone special, your world losses its celebratory qualities. Holidays only magnify the loss. The sadness feels sadder and the loneliness goes deeper. The need for support may be the greatest during the Holidays. Pretending you don’t hurt, or that it is not a harder time of the year for you, is just not the truth.

Here are 5 simple tips so take in to consideration during this difficult time:

  1. Don’t try to do too much. Break holiday tasks such as cooking, shopping and card-writing into smaller chunks, delegate to others, or allow yourself a break from them this year. Rather than dreading an anxiety-filled week, write a schedule for yourself over the holidays. Decide what you’ll commit to in advance, and be sure to give yourself enough down time in between activities.
  2. With that being said; accept at least one invitation. While this may be difficult to do at first, it is important to put yourself around other people during the Holidays. Be selective, however, and do not feel obligated to accept every invitation. Even without grief, our friends and family often think they know how our Holidays should look, what we ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ do. Now more than ever, be gentle with yourself. Don’t do more than you want, and don’t do anything that does not serve your soul and your loss. But at the same time, don’t isolate yourself and allow yourself to fall victim to your grief.
  3. Take people up on offers of help. Often, people want to help but are not sure what you need. Sometimes even the sheer aspect of asking for help can cause anxiety. However, allow people to help you. It’s comforting for them, because often those closest to you are experiencing grief also and this serves as a good way for them to mourn, while also providing you support. Even if it’s something simple, like helping you de-clutter your kitchen cabinets, or the old junk room.
  4. One Holiday season at a time. The pull of tradition is especially strong around the Holidays, but give yourself the liberty of taking one year at a time. Whatever you do this year does not necessarily need to be repeated next year, when you may feel very differently. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to cope during the Holidays.
  5. And lastly; remember that Love does not end in Death. During the Holidays and throughout the year, we keep our loved ones alive by the way we live our lives, honor their memories, exemplify their values, and exude their love.

Just remember; even though your memories of the Holiday season have included your loved one for many many years, it’s okay to start making new memories. You’re in a different place in life now. And the way you handle grief during the Holidays is just as individual as you are.