Coping with Grief During the Holidays
Grief is a complex mixture of emotions. Grief can come from many types of losses or transitions including death of a loved one or pet, divorce, job loss, loss of a friendship, moving, etc. Grief emotions are often cyclical in nature and are felt at various levels throughout the year depending on the intensity of emotional triggers. Sometimes seasonal changes bring back memories of other emotional experiences at that same time of year.
The additional emotions and stressors of the holidays can create an increase in grief and mourning- even years after the loss has occurred. If this is your experience, I encourage you to take some time to make a list of healthy self-care and coping skills. It might be helpful to think of at least one coping skill in each of the following categories: physical self-care, emotional self-care (feelings), psychological self-care (thinking), social self-care, spiritual self-care (connection), and environmental/organizational self-care (decreasing clutter, establishing routine, etc.)
It’s also important to check in with yourself and see if you are engaging in any escape behavior like problematic alcohol/substance use, mindless social media scrolling, overeating, over-functioning, etc. These may help you momentarily escape the challenges that grief emotions bring but in the end, they can lead to feeling even more sad and disconnected.
If you are feeling an increase in grief emotions right now, please know that this is normal and you are not alone. If it feels like those emotions are becoming overwhelming, please contact us for help.