Grieving is difficult on a normal day but coping with grief whilst everyone else is celebrating can be particularly hard. Funeral Industry specialists MuchLoved share a few simple suggestions to help you or your families to cope during the festive season.
Put yourself first
If you want to cover your house in decorations and go full-on Christmas, that’s fine. Laughing and smiling and participating is ‘allowed’ – it’s ok to feel happy when you’re bereaved. However, if you want to ignore the season entirely that’s fine too. Taking yourselves out of the situation might be the best thing to do. Christmas is a time for kindness, so try and remember to be kind to yourselves, whatever that entails. Be honest with your wider family and friends about your approach, so they can follow your lead if you see them.
Find some structure
Do your best to stick to a routine over the festive season. Without our normal patterns to guide us it is easy to forget to look after ourselves. Whether it’s walking the dog at the same time of day, calling a friend or relative each evening, reading a chapter of book or watching your normal show, some sort of structure and routine can be helpful.
Allow yourself to grieve
Don’t feel you need to hide your grief over the festive period and pretend everything is ok. Reaching out to someone and talking about the person you’ve lost can be very helpful, be that family or friends who share memories of that person, attending a Bereavement Group or connecting with a counsellor. Sharing those feelings may help you cope and make the season a little more bearable.
Celebrate their life
You may want to start some new traditions to remember your loved one, or incorporate the person who died into the traditions you already have, as a special way to remember them. Some choose to continue hanging a stocking in their loved ones honour or create a ‘memory box’ to put out with special items that remind them of that person. Others choose to light a candle in their name, hang a wreath or put up a small tree with decorations that celebrate the life of those lost. Or they could cook their favourite festive meal and raise a toast to them.
Give to others
At a time when nothing feels normal, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Sometimes giving to others can be incredibly cathartic. For example, your family may make a charitable donation in honour of your loved one, or buy a gift for a shelter in their name. You might consider volunteering, such as serving meals on Christmas Day for a homeless charity or delivering parcels to families in need. Helping others can offer a break from your normal activities, and help to focus your attention on something positive over the festive season.