Coping with grief over the Christmas season

The Christmas period can be especially difficult if you are grieving. This article lists some suggestions to help you cope. Remember to be gentle with yourself and do what feels best for you.

Plan ahead
Spend some time thinking about what feels right for you this season. Consider which traditions and festivities you feel comfortable participating in and which you don’t. Give yourself permission to skip the things you’re finding difficult or painful at the moment. Others will understand if you don’t feel ready yet. On the other hand, you might feel that continuing with at least some of your usual traditions is the best way for you and your family to cope.

Remember that members of your family may cope with grief in different ways to you. Try to be sensitive towards each other and have an open discussion about how everyone is feeling and what will be best for you all.

Find ways to remember them
You might find it comforting to remember your loved one and celebrate their life in one or more of the following ways. You can do these things alone or with family or friends.

“Speaking” to them, silently or out loud, or writing them a letter
Visiting the grave or place where the ashes were scattered and placing a letter there
Lighting a candle in their memory
Buying or making a new special decoration
Visiting a place that was special to your loved one
Having a glass of their favourite drink or cooking their favourite meal
Listening to their favourite music
Sharing your favourite memories of the person who died with family and friends

Look after yourself
It’s important to be kind to yourself. If things get too much or you feel overwhelmed, excuse yourself and take a breather. Over the festive season, make sure you take some time out for yourself and engage in some self-care. Take a relaxing bubble bath or read a good book.

It’s also important to try to keep to your regular routine of sleeping and eating where you can and include activities like exercise, going out for walks and seeing friends and family.

Allow yourself happy moments
Give yourself permission to enjoy any moments of unexpected happiness you experience this season. Try not to feel guilty about them. This is healthy and normal.

Talk to someone
Try not to keep things bottled up inside. Open up and share how you are feeling with friends and loved ones. If you don’t feel able to do this, there is help available. Keeping Well NWL are here to support you and help you access free talking therapies if needed. Give us a call on 0300 123 1705 or use our live chat service.

Visit our Bereavement support category for further contacts and resources

Keeping Well NWL are here to support you and help you access free talking therapies if needed.

Contact us:
Live chat or call 0300 123 1705 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm)
Email keepingwell.nwl@nhs.net
Complete a self-referral form or request a call back.
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