After a loss: Helpful hints for coping with the holidays

The holidays are usually a time for remembering—remembering your childhood and the excitement you felt during the holidays, remembering favorite traditions like baking cookies, or remembering little gestures of kindness from others that made past holidays special. Many of us look forward to the holidays as a time to gather family and loved ones together in one place.

But if you've recently experienced a loss, you may be worried about being overwhelmed by memories of your loved one. Maybe you don't feel like celebrating or maybe you don't feel like gathering the family together for a big meal without your loved one there. You might feel guilty for not wanting to participate in normal traditions. If you're wondering how you're going to cope this holiday season, read our holiday hints.

  1. Be kind to yourself. Be among people with whom you feel free to be yourself. Set some time apart for quiet remembrance.

  2. Do what you want to do, not what you "should" do.

  3. Plan ahead. Do a few special things with a few special people, not everything with everybody.

  4. Set limits. Be on a stress-reduction diet this holiday season.

  5. Tell others clearly what you want and need for the holidays.

  6. Create new rituals.

  7. Take time to rest and relax.

  8. Realize it is normal to have feelings of sadness and depression.

  9. Allow yourself to be human. Avoid perfectionistic expectations during the holidays.

  10. Celebrate life.

We hope you find these tips helpful. Please remember to seek help from your Employee Assistance Program, a grief counselor or a bereavement specialist if you need it.

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