Managing emotions around grief and loss during the holiday season

Article by Dr. Aliya Sheriff, Licensed Psychologist/Co-Founder, IvyHealth Network

Photography by Dr. Sheriff/Adobe Stock images

Originally published in Southlake City Lifestyle

The holiday season can be a bittersweet time for those who have experienced grief and loss. While others are celebrating, the void left by the absence of loved ones can make the holidays a challenging time. However, amid the sea of emotions, there lies an opportunity for connection, healing and solace through community involvement and volunteerism.

Grief is a complex and personal experience. Grief doesn't adhere to a schedule. It can intensify during the holiday season when traditions and cherished memories resurface. The first step in managing these emotions is acknowledging them. It's okay to feel sadness, grief, rage and joy during this time. Loss can also come with many changes. We may need to find new traditions and identify who will be involved in those traditions. It's essential to give yourself permission to mourn in your way.

Reaching out for support from friends, family or a grief support group is beneficial. David Kessler, a grief expert, stated that “grief must be witnessed.” Sharing your emotions and experiences with others can be comforting. When sitting with someone in their grief, we should not try to find a silver lining. Rather, sit with the person and accept their emotions as they are.

Another way to cope with grief during the holidays is by giving back to the community through volunteerism. Engaging in acts of kindness and service can provide a sense of purpose and connection. Volunteering may allow you to channel your grief into making a positive impact on others' lives. Additionally, volunteering can help you establish new holiday traditions or modify existing ones in honor of your loved ones. You can dedicate your volunteer efforts to their memory, making their presence felt even in their absence. This can be a meaningful way to keep their spirit alive during the holiday season.

Self-care is another vital aspect of managing emotions during this challenging time. Ensure you take time for yourself, whether it's through meditation, exercise or simply spending quiet moments reflecting on your feelings. Sometimes leaving a holiday event a little early can help us cope while still allowing time for connection. Self-care can help you recharge and better navigate the holiday season's emotional terrain.

Grief and loss during the holiday season can be overwhelming, but they also present an opportunity for healing and growth. Engaging in volunteer work and giving back to the community can be a powerful way to channel your emotions and bring a renewed sense of fulfillment. Remember, it's okay to grieve, and there is no right or wrong way to do so.

Engaging in volunteer work and giving back to the community can be a powerful way to channel your emotions and bring a renewed sense of fulfillment.

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