Dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy, no matter when it happens. But when someone close to you dies during the holiday season it can be particularly difficult.
Holiday traditions may not feel the same or could remind you that the person isn’t there to partake in the fun. Your loved one may have enjoyed the holidays, which drums up feelings of guilt that they can longer celebrate. Then there’s the fact that the holidays are a busy time when families are trying to work extra things into their already packed schedules.
Managing grief during the holidays can be very challenging. If you’ve lost a loved one during the holidays here are a few ways to deal with the death so that it’s still possible to celebrate in special ways.
Forgo Holiday Festivities For a While If Needed
Sometimes we feel pressure to accept invites for every holiday event, even if we don’t feel up to it. After losing a loved one it’s perfectly fine to politely decline invites to holiday parties when you aren’t ready to deal with a crowd or you’re still processing the loss. All you have to say is that you can’t make it this year but hope to join the festivities next holiday season.
However, if you are feeling lonely and isolated without your loved one this holiday season it’s important to get some kind of social interaction. It can help to keep get togethers low-key with a few close friends or family members and try new things that you haven’t done before. You could even decide to travel over the holidays to pay someone a visit or go somewhere you’ve never been before with a friend who always helps you through challenges.
Make Mementos Part of the Holiday Decor
Seeing reminders of the loved one you lost can be painful, but shutting out their memory during the holidays can be equally difficult. Instead of packing away the deceased’s holiday decor, like stockings and ornaments, it may be more helpful to put it on full display. Doing so can make it feel like your loved one is there in spirit and help keep holiday memories that you shared alive. It even provides an opportunity to share those special memories with younger generations.
Young children, kids or adults may want to make a remembering ornament. It’s a craft project that can help you express your feelings and create new holiday memories as you share stories about your loved one. It can be particularly helpful for grieving children the first holiday season after a death.
Host a Holiday Celebration of Life
The holidays are a time of cheer, but there’s no getting around the fact that death is somber. Many people are reluctant to hold funerals and memorials during the holidays when everyone is in a light-hearted mood, but you don’t have to forgo honoring your loved one’s memory. Instead, host a celebration of life that fully embraces the holiday.
A celebration of life memorial service focuses on the joy that the deceased brought to others and the positive ways they impacted the lives of those they knew. You can embrace the season by having guests share their favorite holiday memory of the deceased during the memorial. Or you can have a white elephant using small trinkets that the deceased owned. The goal is to keep the mood upbeat and celebratory, which is easier to do after a cremation when the family has had time to process their loss.
Avoid Stressors and Triggers . . . Even If It Includes Relatives
Losing a loved one is very stressful on every level, mentally, physically and emotionally. With the added stress that can come with the holidays it might not take much to overwhelm you. It’s perfectly fine to take a break from anything that you know causes stress or is a trigger that impacts you negatively. This includes family members that you may regularly see around the holidays.
Take a few minutes to jot down stressors and triggers that you may encounter during the holidays. You can work on resolving them in a healthy way, but during the holidays it may be best just to avoid stressors and triggers all together. If wrapping gifts isn’t your strong suit and leads to frustration, ask a crafty family member to help you out. If your Uncle Bob always tries to debate politics during dinner, make sure to sit at the opposite end of the table where you won’t be part of the conversation.
The point is, you’re already dealing with enough so it’s important to avoid added stress when you know it’s a possibility.
Talk to a Mental Health Specialist
The holidays are especially hard on mental health even when you aren’t dealing with the death of a friend or family member. A poll from the American Psychiatric Association found that 41% of adults experience an increase in stress around the holidays. Other studies have revealed that it’s even worse if someone is already dealing with mental health issues. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) notes that nearly two thirds of people with a mental illness believe the holiday season makes their condition worse.
Holiday stressors cause 67% of adults to consider talking with a mental health specialist, and it’s a very good idea if you’re also dealing with the death of a loved one. Just being able to talk about what you’re feeling with a qualified professional who can help you work through the emotions is a huge help. It’s a much healthier way to deal with the added stress of losing a loved one during the holidays than indulging in decadent foods or drinking alcohol.
If you need help arranging eco-friendly cremation during the holidays Cremation.Green is here for your family. We will handle all of the necessities so there is less for you to stress about. All you have to do is choose the type of disposition and our team will make sure everything else is covered.