5 Ways to Cope with Death around the Holidays

The death of a loved one around the holidays can be a devastating event. All the usual celebrations, dinners, parties and neighborhood get-togethers take on a different tone, making the absence of the loved one more poignant than ever. This is a time when the aggrieved must do special “self care” to deal with a wave of emotions and the sense of profound loss. You can make the holidays a little easier to manage if you follow a few tips to ease the sense of separation from past happy times.

Surround Yourself with Loved Ones

After a serious personal loss, you can find comfort within your close circle of family and friends, who understand you are not feeling your best and who can commiserate with you when your feelings become intense. If your loved ones knew the person who passed away, consider coming together to memorialize them. Donate to charity in their name, do some activities that your loved one enjoyed, or share memories together. These types of group activities can help bring you together and keep the loved one’s memory alive.

Fight the Urge to Cancel Holiday Plans

Some people, in the midst of their loss, may have no interest in celebrating the holidays. Although these feelings are understandable, it can be helpful to continue your usual traditions and activities to provide a sense of comfort and “normalcy” amidst your grief.

Keep Busy but Not Too Busy

Keeping busy during the holidays can often be therapeutic, because it takes thoughts away from the loss and puts your physical energy into something useful. Many people find solace in doing things for others, such as volunteering for a local charity or collecting food or gifts for the needy.

Be Prepared to Take a Break When You Need To

Pay attention to your body, and when you begin to experience a feeling of physical and emotional exhaustion, take a break to recharge your spirit. If you are involved in a wrongful death lawsuit or other legal issue, it’s best to leave the problem in the hands of your lawyer and take care of your own needs. Some people find a bit of quiet time helps to restore their emotional reserves. Others may find consolation in religious services. Find an activity that provides some emotional peace and use it as “therapy” during times of low feelings and energy.

Honor Your Lost Loved One

Having a ritual to mark the loss of your loved one can help to acknowledge the sadness that the holiday may bring for members of the family, close friends and other associates. Lighting a special candle, offering a special toast or other gestures can bring the loss into focus and will help bring people together.

If you stay connected to your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers who understand your loss, you will be assured of getting the support you need during difficult moments. If you take a few steps to ensure your emotional, physical and spiritual well being during the holiday, you will be able to enjoy its special magic while still feeling you are honoring your lost loved one.