Coping with grief and loss at Christmas affects so many in our community. The emotional pain can be indescribable and overwhelming for most. As a psychologist we see many who feel quite lost in this emotional pain. While we cannot change what has happened in the past, we can change what can happen in the future and perhaps some of these ideas might help.
My suggestions for managing the pain from grief and loss around Christmas holidays:
- Acknowledge the grief that comes from your loss. Denying it occured can mean memories will creep up on you at times and overwhelm you when you are not prepared.
- If your loss was recent, then time needs to pass for you to heal from the emotional injury that happens. Just like a broken bone it is normal to have some weeks in overwhelming emotional pain. Giving yourself time to heal is a strategy. Tell yourself that things will change and the shock of the event will soften with time. For many the experience of pain from the loss will change and become less overwhelming as the weeks pass.
- Find support. Sometimes being around others in grief can help, but at other times it can make your feel more overwhelmed. Find support with those that are able to help you out. If you feel sick to the stomach then find someone to share a meal with you. Sometimes others don’t know how they can help you and they need you to let them know. If you have a good friend that listens to you talk, then find time to meet up with them. If you have a friend that is outgoing, and you need a day away from it all, then ask them to take you out somewhere.
- The person you have lost would want good things for your life. Consider what that person would want for you. Make a list of the things that they might have suggested that you “do”. Some ideas might include remembering them at a special place you have shared, visiting a family member that was important to them, finding something fun they would have always wanted to do and do it for them.
If you feel so overwhelmed that you cannot reach out others, or those around you are hurting too much and you feel that you can’t reach out to them, then visiting a counsellor can help. As trained professionals we can support you to “think” and “feel” around what has happened and help to support you in recovery. Not everyone needs a professional as grief is something that happens to all of us. The more we love, the more often grief will visit in our lives. If you are worried about your loved one and it’s been some weeks or months, or if they have thoughts of ending their lives, please consider visiting us sooner rather than later. Emotional pain, just like physical pain should not go on forever.
For more information on Grief and Loss we have a dedicated website.
Author: Vivian Jarrett