When you’ve lost a loved one, you may feel as if the world has come to a crashing halt. Some days are hard, while other days aren’t so bad. The holidays, however, can be an especially difficult time as you see family and friends celebrating together. You may feel more lost and alone than ever before.
Here are eight ways to help you get through the holidays.
- Understand Everyone Grieves Differently.
Perhaps you lost a loved one recently and feel like you are supposed to be doing fine but are still struggling. Don’t judge yourself harshly as we grieve uniquely and the timing is different for each of us.
- Acknowledge It Will be Hard.
Holidays can be hard for anyone. But when you’re grieving, they are especially difficult. Instead of ignoring these feelings, acknowledge them; share these feelings with God in prayer; or write them in a journal. Most importantly, talk with a friend about how the holidays are affecting you.
- Be Gentle With Yourself.
Don’t do more than you want to do, and acknowledge anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. If you have traditions around the holidays but don’t feel like it this year, don’t force yourself. It’s okay to do things differently than in the past because everything is different. Ask for support and understanding as you find a new normal.
- Talk About Your Memories.
Although it may be hard, share memories of your loved one. The holidays are a good opportunity for you to talk about all of the good times you shared, and if you feel comfortable, you might even share the hard times. Sharing memories—both good and bad—will help you heal.
- Have Realistic Expectations.
Go into this season with the perspective that your life is going to be different from now on. Acceptance is acknowledging your new normal. It doesn’t mean you are okay with it, but that you are living in the present and know things will be challenging for a while.
- Get Plenty of Rest.
Grieving is exhausting, and many people have a hard time getting plenty of rest during the holidays. Take care of yourself with regular breaks, and get plenty of sleep. Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap.
- Connect With People Who Care.
Reach out to people who understand what you are going through. For example, plan to have a meal with a friend or neighbor once a week. Go to a Life Recovery group where you can talk about your loss; or, you might need to see a Christian counselor to help process the grief.
- Ask for Help.
You don’t have to grieve alone. We are here to pray with you and come alongside you in support. There’s hope for tomorrow! Remember the words of the Psalmist: “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5).