Coping with Grief Over the Holidays

Finding Peace During a Difficult Time




Holiday celebrations, traditionally memorable for their joys and happiness, can be tough emotional sledding for those grieving the loss of a loved one. Experts counsel that acknowledging the fact that the holidays won’t be the same without the deceased is a first step toward being at peace with the activities unfolding around us.

Then, we need to decide what we can handle and how much responsibility we are willing to assume; this might mean letting others do the shopping or cooking. Getting enough rest is crucial; if we need time alone, we should honor that need.

It can help to create new traditions that include the deceased in a loving way. We might light a candle, display a photo or revisit photo albums of good times, thus including the life of our loved one in our conversations and celebrations. We could even hang a stocking in the name of the beloved for family and friends to stuff with notes, thereby sharing their feelings with us.

Holidays are not about “shoulds,” but about what’s comfortable and best for our family and us. If this is the first holiday without a loved one and celebrating seems impossible, we can instead celebrate winter, by engaging in a physical nature activity. Whatever we do, we can know that grieving is a necessary and healthy process and that healing is possible.


Adapted from www.GriefAndRenewal.com, www.Griefnet.org and www.HospiceFoundation.org.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Breastfed Babies Have Fewer Colds and Ear Infections

A six-year Texan study found that prolonged breastfeeding reduces both sniffles and painful earaches in newborns.

The Garden Cure

Winding nature paths, fragrant lavender fields, heirloom-tea tasting… a world of sensory delights awaits us in America’s parks and farms.

Earth Guardians

A young Colorado boy has started a worldwide network of youngsters from Bhutan to Brazil that fight environmental degradation.

Handle Wild Things With Care

Many critters that look abandoned or hurt don’t actually need our help—but if we do see a bird, squirrel, turtle or other wild animal in distress, here’s a guide on what to do.

Growing Up Empowered

We build confidence in our children by encouraging their unique strengths, fostering their dreams, allowing healthy risks and engaging them in community service.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags