Coping with Feelings of Loss

Category News  |  Time 1  |  Published December 8, 2022

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It’s hard to imagine wishing the holidays would pass as quickly as possible—unless you are facing the first holiday season without a spouse or lifelong friend. Even years after the loss of a loved one, the holidays can bring grief back to the surface.

3 Steps to Managing Grief

Anyone who has lost someone close will tell you it’s easy to feel almost paralyzed or stuck in grief. But taking a few proactive steps can go a long way toward making Christmas and New Year’s celebrations after the loss of a loved one a bit more bearable. Here are three tips:

  1. Be Patient with Yourself. Simply recognize that the sights and sounds of the holidays—from decorations to carols to stores filled with shoppers—may trigger pain and sadness. Merely acknowledging the fact may provide the strength to cope. It’s OK for you to lower expectations for the holiday season. You can’t expect to feel the same way you once did, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
  2. Be Prepared and Plan Ahead. When holiday invitations come, ask who will be there and what activities are planned. If certain activities will cause too much pain, make it known ahead of time. Consider doing something different. Perhaps you can find an organization that needs help and donate some of your time. Scheduling events you’ll find rewarding will help you prevent getting “stuck” in grief.
  3. Seek Support and Help. Being with others who are experiencing (or have experienced) the loss of a loved one can help more than you know. Research support groups in your area. Realizing others are feeling the same way can help alleviate some holiday grief. Most import: be truthful about your feelings when asked. Don’t stifle emotions. Set aside time for sadness and anger. Journaling thoughts and feelings is also a good way to help ease the pain.

We recommend you resist the temptation to compare your experience with others this holiday season. After all, everyone appears so happy! But if you think back to joyous holidays before your loss, you’ll likely recall that this most wonderful time of the year is also quite stressful—for everyone. The holidays are never quite as magical as they may seem.

This year, the goal is to do whatever makes you feel best. Experts suggest it may take years to identify traditions you wish to continue and those you no longer want to be part of your life. Our simple advice: focus just on this holiday season for now. And allow yourself some time to grieve—and some time to enjoy them.

From Our Oakmont Garden Family to Yours: Happy Holidays! At Oakmont Gardens, we plan a full schedule of holiday events, live performances and special meals that put residents in the holiday mood. And we invite families to join in all the fun. To learn more about what our retirement community has planned, contact us!