The holidays are a time of good cheer and wonderment. But if a person is grieving, the holiday season can seem more like a curse than blessing.
“One of the best things you can do is to ask the person who is grieving how they would like to deal with it. And if they have an idea then go with it,” says Paula Burgstaller, Life Enrichment Coordinator for the Memory Support Center at Bethany Village. “Plan for the grief and know that it is going to be there and don’t try to avoid it – it’s best for it to come out.”
Dale G. Larson, professor of counseling psychology at Santa Clara University in California agrees that loss during the holidays is tough. In an article with the Washington Post, Larson advisees that "…The key is to acknowledge that you have changed and that the holidays aren't going to be the same. It's important to know that from the outset."
Paula firmly believes that knowing exactly what you’re going to do for the holidays will help and that it is okay to pick and choose. You don’t need to go to every holiday party – and you certainly don’t have to go it alone.
“It’s okay to ask for help if you get overwhelmed,” Paula continues. "Ask a friend to help maybe with cookie baking so you’ll have some. Have a friend pick-up dry cleaning. Or have someone else bake the pies for dinner so you can be with family members and not be preoccupied with chores the whole time.”
Finally, consider a loss a time for new traditions. Honor the one you’ve lost by sharing sentiments and other good thoughts. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to “handle” the holidays. Lean on those you can trust for support and ask for help when necessary.
Do you have tips on dealing with grief or loss during the holiday season?