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How to deal with grief during the holidays.

It’s okay during the holidays to acknowledge your grief over the loss of a loved one.

It’s also okay if during the holidays you need to take time out for yourself.

The holidays, although filled with family, friends and celebrations, can be overwhelming and stressful.

Here are some tips to help you deal with all the emotions you may feel this holiday season.

Acknowledge that the holidays will be different this year and they may be emotionally difficult and that’s OKAY

Remember those that are no longer here. It is also important to acknowledge that your friend or family member maybe struggling. Encourage the memories. Let them talk about all the things that brought them joy with the person they are missing. If you are the person grieving, take time out to reminisce, look at photos, it’s OKAY to remember those you love however way you want to.

Active listening from family and friends is an important step to helping someone cope with grief or overwhelming feelings. It’s OKAY to tell people what you want to do for the holidays and what you do not want to do. Listen to yourself, trust yourself, have open communication with your family and friends, remember to do what works for you.

Traditions have always played an important role in the holidays. You can decide which traditions you want to keep or maybe ones you want to change. It’s OKAY if you want to make new traditions in memory of your loved one.

Making lists are important. Grief makes it harder to concentrate and to remember things. When there is a lot going on during the holidays it well help eliminate some stress by being organized and having a list.

It’s okay to ask for help. Most people find that the support of their family and friends is what they need to find ways to learn to live with their loss. Say YES to people who offer support. It’s OKAY to admit you are struggling with your grief and OKAY to accept help.

One thing that people find hard is practicing self-care. People tend to think of others before themselves. Make efforts toward mindfulness, healthy lifestyle and stress management. It could be meditating for 15 minutes a day, going for a walk, having a massage or even just listening to music. Whatever you enjoy and whatever is geared to your wellbeing. It’s OKAY to take time out for you.

If you or a friend or family member is experiencing grief remember to be flexiable. If they want to do something different for the holiday season, respect their wishes. Remember not everyone grieves the same way. Some find strength in long established traditions while others find the traditions too painful. Remember it’s OKAY to do things differently.

Sometimes volunteering your time during the holidays will help lift your spirits. Sorting food at the food bank, helping in a soup kitchen, delivering presents to those in need or just helping others will give you that sense of helping.

Don’t ever feel guilty if you decide to say NO to events. The holidays at best can be overloaded with so many things to do that it’s overwhelming.

There is a saying “stop and smell the roses:” Some people find joy in just getting out into nature even if it’s for a few minutes. The smell of pine trees, the sun beating down on your back and just fresh air can decrease stress and increase relaxation. It’s OKAY to enjoy nature.

One thing that people struggle with is being happy. They feel guilty if they are happy during the holidays, but it’s OKAY to be happy. Finding happiness and enjoying the holidays does not diminish how much you love and miss the person who isn’t there.

And finally, after the holidays are done, make sure to

with your family and friends. Sometimes the post-holiday period can be even more difficult because things start to settle down and people go back to regular life. It’s OKAY to need support after the holidays.

These tips are helpful not just for the holidays but all year round.

Who we are and what we do

Hospice Dufferin is a charitable organization. We offer programs from diagnosis to end of life for the clients.

We offer support programs for caregivers from illness to bereavement.

Our goal is to help our clients and their families to live life fully despite their diagnosis.

Our services address the domains of care developed by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association.

We are here for you.

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