How will you get through the season?

Every year the holidays come with a rush: typically Halloween hits and life becomes a blur until January 2nd. But this is not a typical holiday season for you, and what you will likely notice—for the first time—are couples out and about coping with the holiday blur together, underlining the fact that you are now alone.

There is one consolation you can count on: January is not far off. Until then you can limit added holiday distress by remembering to:

  1. participate when and where you feel most comfortable
  2. give yourself permission to leave a gathering early, and
  3. fight the desire to isolate entirely.

Where have you historically felt comfortable?

If being with family has provided a warm comforting holiday environment in the past, surround yourself with family this year, but keep in mind they are grieving as well. If there is ongoing family discord, limit your family time and focus on quality time with close friends.

Why doesn’t anyone mention your loss?

People often don’t speak of your deceased loved one because they don’t want to upset you. Others don’t mention the loss because they don’t know what to say. And still others don’t bring up the subject because they don’t want to upset themselves! Meanwhile you sit quietly by, wondering how an entire lunch or dinner can pass without a single mention of your loved one’s name. Instead of sitting quietly, break the ice and speak up. When you do, you ultimately help others share stories and express their grief.

10 more suggestions to help you through the holiday season

  1. Forget sending cards, giving gifts, cooking, or decorating your home.
  2. Take a break from shopping: order from catalogs or Amazon, pick up a gift card or put money into a greeting card.
  3. Buy something for yourself—a new robe, a pair of shoes or something special to eat.
  4. Do one thing in private to commemorate your loss: light a candle, write a letter to your loved one, rent a movie the two of you enjoyed, and consider pulling out those picture albums to remember past holidays.
  5. Find satisfaction in doing something for another who is having a difficult time.
  6. Spend 15 minutes in the sun even if it is cold outside. Sun makes a difference.
  7. Walk. And then walk some more – even in the snow.
  8. Breathe deeply and repeat to yourself: “I can get through this—because I can tolerate anything for the moment.”
  9. Laugh. Remember laughter is part of grieving.
  10. Accept reality. The holidays won’t be the same and shouldn’t be, but by keeping certain traditions from the past while introducing new ones, future holidays will get easier.