Navigating Grief During the Holidays
The holidays can be an exciting and joyous time. But for those struggling with the loss of a loved one, this time can be extremely difficult. As the holidays approach, those who are grieving may begin to feel an increase of anxiety, sadness and loneliness.
Grief can manifest in many ways and can sometimes have serious negative effects on your health. In addition to mental health issues, like depression and anxiety, grief can actually take a physical toll on your body. Loss of sleep, digestive issues and inflammation can all be triggered by grief.
If you’re mourning this holiday season, remember you are not alone. While everyone’s grief is different, there may be some things you can do to ease your pain during this time.
- Make a plan—this doesn’t have to be detailed. But decide how you’ll commemorate the holiday based on your needs. You can keep up a tradition or start a new one, like honoring your loved one in some way. Think about what you will be most comfortable doing.
- Recognize that grief is unique. You and your family may have different needs during this time.
- Make time for feelings and self-care. The holidays can easily get chaotic but you may need time and space for feelings that are likely to arise.
- Stay flexible—there may be times when you need to skip out on certain events or activities based on how you’re feeling. When responding to an invitation, let people know you will need to see how you’re doing day-of. Don’t feel pressure to overcommit yourself.
Most importantly: consider getting support. While being around friends and family can offer a sense of community, you might also need the support of a mental health professional. Therapists and grief counselors are trained to help guide you through loss and can be a tremendous help especially during the holiday season.
FEP has resources to help. All FEP members have access to telehealth services from Teladoc®. This means connecting with a licensed professional to get help with stress, anxiety, depression or grief. You don’t have to go through loss alone.