Grief is often present during the holiday season. While the rest of the country is singing songs, decorating for the holidays, and attending parties, grief can feel especially isolating and overwhelming.
To those who are mourning the loss or cancer diagnosis of a loved one, or battling the disease themselves, it’s certainly not “the best time of the year”. The cheer and fun of the holidays are a painful reminder of the loss they’ve experienced, and this can take its toll on individuals & families.
If you are wondering how to get through the holidays this season, there are ways you can manage your grief and help yourself heal in the process.
#1. Feel Your Feelings – Grief is necessary. As hard as it is, grief is a part of the healing process. Experiencing pain is difficult, but it is the only way through the trauma of losing someone you love. Escaping the pain, such as with alcohol or drugs, only intensifies the grief in the long run and can cause complications.
#2. Set Boundaries – When you are grieving the loss of a loved one, it is important to set boundaries that feel good to you. It is not necessary to attend all holiday events or celebrate in the same way your family once did. If participating in a particular family tradition is causing you pain or stress, give yourself the gift of saying “no.” Setting boundaries is one way you can move through the holidays without becoming overwhelmed by grief.
#3. Know What You Can Control – There are some things that are just not in your control during the holidays. Focus on the holiday items you can control. Shopping online, limiting decorations, or ordering takeout are just a few ways you can assert some control over the holiday season.
#4. Allow Yourself Time – It is important to allow yourself the time you need to feel all of your emotions during the holidays. This may mean being happy on some days and feeling sad on others. Do not judge yourself too harshly when you feel a wide range of emotions all within a few minutes. Give yourself the time and space you need this holiday season.
#5. Honor Memories – Remembering your loved one during the holiday season may be painful, but it is important to honor those memories. Many find comfort in starting a new tradition to memorialize the person they have loved and lost. Consider lighting a candle or making a donation in their name as a way to remind yourself that they are still present in your heart.
#6. Do Something Kind – Sometimes, the best prescription for grief is to channel that sadness into something good. You still have something incredible to offer your community, even when you are struggling. During the holiday spirit, many grieving families find comfort in donating gifts to families in need, working in soup kitchens, or volunteering at nursing homes. In giving back, they often find relief from their grief even temporarily.
#7. Start a New Tradition – For many grieving families, continuing the same family traditions without their loved one present is painful. As such, don’t be afraid to do something completely different. Acknowledge that things are different and manage your expectations. Consider planning a new tradition or a different outing to help ease the grief you are feeling.
It is important to know, however, that these steps may not work for everyone. If you are feeling overwhelming grief this holiday season, consider seeking professional help. Mental health professionals and counselors can help you through this difficult time. There are therapies and support groups that can help ease the burden of grief so you can begin to heal.
Are You Grieving the Loss of a Loved One? We Can Help!
If your loved one has passed away from mesothelioma or an asbestos-related disease, it is important to speak to a Louisiana mesothelioma attorney immediately. You deserve a compassionate and aggressive legal advocate on your family’s side during this difficult time.
Landry & Swarr is a New Orleans mesothelioma law firm. We have helped numerous Louisiana families whose loved ones have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. If you or a family member feel that you may have contracted mesothelioma due to contact with asbestos, call 504-299-1214 and speak to one of our attorneys about your legal options.