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5 Tips to Cope with Grief During the Holidays

Thursday, Nov 13, 2014

The holidays can be a challenging time for those mourning the loss of a loved one.

Most of us eagerly anticipate the holiday season and look forward to celebrating good times. "The holidays for most of the world continue to be joyous," says Celia M.R. Blum, MSW, Doylestown Hospital Hospice Bereavement Coordinator. "Everywhere you see advertisements, it's in the media and in the stores." But for people who have recently lost a loved one, there may be a very different feeling going into the holiday season.

"People can feel more isolated or out of place. They're surrounded by everything that's celebratory. The fact that some people are grieving is not really acknowledged," says Celia.

It's not just the holidays that can be challenging for the newly bereaved. Anniversaries, birthdays and other special dates can be daunting particularly in the first year after a loss.

Celia offers several suggestions for coping with the holidays and other special occasions.

5 Tips to Cope with Grief During the Holidays

Focus on You

Don't expect to do everything you have done in the past. Focus on you and choose what brings you the most comfort.

Create a Support System

Ask yourself, "What do I need to make it through this holiday season?" Set up your own support system with family and friends. During your griefing period, even the smallest gesture from a loved one can provide you with comfort.

Evaluate Traditions or Create New Ones

Decide whether to continue traditions over the first year after a loss. Realize that things may be different in the future and planning something different is not an insult to the memory of a loved one and can be a positive way to ease some of the pressure.

Be Honest With People

Be honest about what you can and can't do. Don't force yourself to do certain things or feel a certain way. Put yourself first versus others.

Plan Ahead

Think about the holidays and important dates now so you have a plan in place. Make decisions that are in your best interest.

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