For many, holidays are spent with loved ones. Baking, decorating, catching up with one another, and eating meals together are just some of the things we expect to be doing with our loved ones when the holidays roll around. People talk about special plans; where they will be going, who they will be reconnecting with. For those who are experiencing loss, however, the holidays can sometimes feel like the loneliest days of the year.

Loss comes in many forms; death, estrangement, divorce, addiction, and incarceration, to name a few. While there is no right or wrong way to grieve the loss of a loved one, there are some things you can do to help yourself get through these tough times.

  • Journal
    • Find a safe and private place write your feelings out. Let your thoughts and emotions flow onto the paper exactly how you are feeling them.
  • Reach out
    • Reach out to someone you trust and share your feelings with them so they can offer support and help you process your feelings.
  • Give yourself permission to change family traditions
    • Know that it’s ok to let some traditions go and start new traditions.
  • Light a candle for your loved one
  • Be kind to yourself
    • Take time away from work, household tasks and other responsibilities and do something you enjoy.
    • Get some sleep. Use a guided meditation for sleep DVD or online app if you have trouble falling or staying asleep.
    • Eat well. Choose foods that nourish your body.
  • Let go of guilt
    • Spend time with people who are supportive and build you up.
  • Forgive
    • Forgive yourself. Remind yourself that you are human, that no one is perfect and we all make mistakes.
    • Forgive others who have hurt you. This doesn’t mean what they did is ok; it means you are no longer willing to carry the burden of anger in your heart.

~Connie Norby