3 Tips for Dealing with Loss During the Holidays
The holidays are commonly seen as a time of year that is full of happiness, smiles and laughter. This expectation makes it even harder for those that do not experience the holidays in this manner. Although the holidays can be a time for gathering and bringing feelings of joy, for some people it can uncover feelings of sadness and depression.
Whether you are grieving the loss of a loved one, or the holidays bring up difficult memories – there are ways you can try to cope with feelings of sadness during the holidays in a healthy way.
- Create New Traditions
After losing an important member of your family or friends, it can be hard to learn how to navigate the holidays without them. Maybe they hosted the holidays every year or led fun traditions that everyone participated in. The absence of these traditions can create a void that adds to the already looming sadness around the holidays.
If you look at this from a different perspective, it can be a time for new beginnings instead of a time of endings. In honor of the one you lost, this can be a time to create new traditions in their memory. It may feel bittersweet at times, but knowing that you are creating something that would bring a smile to their face has a high probability of bringing a smile to yours.
- Set Realistic Expectations
Whether we like it or not, the holidays come around every year. That means you can prepare for them – if you know certain things trigger negative emotions, try to avoid those situations. On the flip side, you can target activities that bring you joy.
Unfortunately, no matter how prepared you think you are, something might catch you by surprise that brings a wave of nostalgia or sadness. That is part of setting realistic expectations for the holidays. No one is expecting you to be perfect, and it is important that you acknowledge all the feelings that arise. The more you ignore or run from uncomfortable feelings, the more they will build up and have a greater effect on your life.
- Ask for Help
The hardest part of going through the holidays is if you feel like you have to go through it alone. You may feel like your sentiments toward the holidays are very personal and it is difficult to explain it to other people. You are never alone. Reach out to your trusted loved ones – they want what is best for you and are going to want to be there with you along the way. Maybe it is time to reach out to a mental health professional to help you navigate the holidays in healthy ways.
There are endless resources and people that you can look toward for support. Keeping all of your thoughts in your head can quickly become overwhelming and having a safe space to share your thoughts or express your feelings can bring a lot of relief.
The Bottom Line
Everyone deserves to feel joy during the holiday months, and it is okay if sad feelings sometimes break through. You never have to deal with it alone, and you will get through it. If you would like to talk to a mental health professional about navigating the feelings of sadness and loss during the holidays, reach out to ustoday. Mental Health Center at Destination Hope provides world-class mental health treatment with personalized care to ensure that all of our clients can live a happy and healthy life.