Grieving During the Holidays

Grieving During the Holidays

Dec 15, 2023

The process of grieving a loved one is difficult, and certain events like birthdays and holidays will often bring increased feelings of grief. Many people think of the holiday season as the most joyful time of the year. However, for those grieving, these times of tradition and gathering with family and friends can be dreadful.

Molly Ruggles, Assistant Clinical Director and Licensed Psychologist at the FamilyMeans Center for Grief & Loss shares that, “For many, the holiday season is a time when there are so many reminders of togetherness.  This can heighten the experience of isolation and heaviness, the awareness of how much has changed and been lost, and the realization that things will never be the same again.  Finding ways to connect with a community of others who are grieving, tap into other supportive, established relationships, and consider ways of re-envisioning what the holidays could look like are ways that some find useful in navigating the holiday season over time.”

Ways to be present with your grief and take care of yourself this season include:

  • Check in with your emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations –journaling or writing can be helpful with this. 
  • Seek out peaceful moments/time for quiet reflection –you deserve them! 
  • Take time to allow yourself to slow down and even let go of some of your usual self–expectations.
  • Honor memories that help you feel connected with your loved one. Some people find photos and listening to music helpful.
  • Feel free to discard a tradition that doesn’t work for you or doesn’t work for you THIS year.
  •  Find ways to let out your feelings: talking to someone, crying, drawing, etc.

Grief is not linear, and everyone deals with grief in their own way. This holiday season, remember to be kind to yourself and others who may be mourning the loss of loved ones.

Wishing you peace through the holiday season,

The Staff at FamilyMeans