Three tips to cope with loss during the holidays

Grief can be especially difficult to overcome during the holiday season.

Festive decorations and holiday parties can create painful reminders of loss, and add in the isolation and COVID-19, and this holiday season can be especially difficult for those who have recently experienced a loss. Seniors may find the holiday season less than joyous for a variety of reasons.

There is no right or wrong way to handle the holiday season after the loss of a loved one, but there are a number of ways you can cope with grief during the holiday season.

Eventually, the holidays will get easier, but only if you allow yourself to time to grieve. Here are 3 ways to cope with loss during the holidays.

1. Find comfort in new experiences that honor your loved one.

Familiar traditions may be comforting, but it is important to acknowledge that the holidays will not be the same after a loss. Some find comfort in new experiences, a change in location for family celebrations or a new menu.

New activities can also bring about a sense of ease, and scaling back holiday plans may be beneficial as well.

During a holiday dinner, place a lighted candle on the dinner table, leave an empty chair or say a few words of remembrance to incorporate their memory into the holidays.

2. Gift-giving can be challenging as you grieve the loss of a loved one. Consider alternate options to cope with grief.

According to the AARP, in times of loss we often want to do something that will make a difference. Consider making a donation in a loved one’s name to a charity or cause that he or she cherished. Avoid trying to please everyone. Your sense of loss can be magnified during family gatherings, holiday traditions and meaningful events.

3. Scale back your holiday activities.

Do not feel that you have to force yourself to face every event or tradition and be willing to say no. Scale back your holiday activities. Less decorations, greeting cards or events will give you a break from the added stress at this time of year.

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