How to Cope Without Your Loved One During the Holidays

Allow me to explain how the death of a loved one affects you. There is a period of signs and symptoms of depression. Depression can occur when one is overwhelmed by grief of the loss, affecting one’s way of normal functioning. Grief is different than depression in that grief refers to one’s emotions, thoughts, and behavior when someone had loss their love one. Depression affects mood and can continue to occur particularly around certain times of the year, one being the holidays. Therefore, I usually inform my clients to pay attention to how they are feeling and reacting to notice the frequency and severity of their reactions. If they are constantly feeling sad about the loss of their loved one, withdraw from love ones and from their usual routine, consistent feeling of sadness, anger, hopelessness or helplessness, or worse, such as suicidal thoughts or thoughts of dying, then I encourage them to continue counseling, possibly medication management coupled with psychotherapy until the person has a better handle on their feelings with their loss



Now if one’s responses are not as serious as previously mentioned, I first normalize the process of their feelings. It is normal to be sad, angry, happy, have mixed mood and feelings as they try to cope and then have my clients acknowledge and embrace their thoughts and feelings to continue normalizing their feelings of loss. Feelings can range and fluctuate, and it is perfectly normal, so people need to know that, despite the number of years it has been since their loved one’s passing. The memories and the feelings associated with the departed love one can all come flooding back especially around significant events, such as Mother’s Day, Birthdays, Christmas, and so forth, so initially it is to ensure that the person knows it is normal and okay to embrace one’s mixed feelings over their loved one’s passing.

Recommendations:

Accept that it is normal to feel sad or depressed during your time of lost, especially during holidays.

I want to reiterate that it is normal to feel sad and depressed during this festive time because one is lamenting over their loved one not being around. I also would reiterate to embrace their feelings and acknowledge their emotions during the holidays. Your feelings are valid, real, and normal, so be patient with yourself during the process, no matter how many years it’s been since your loved one’s passing. • Monitor your feelings, thoughts, and mood during the Holiday Season.

Attend to your own needs and allow time to process grief or sadness. Limit your drinking and eating, excessive drinking and eating can contribute to depression and associated guilt. Make sure you don’t become dependent on excessive drinking and medication or even doing illicit drugs as ways to cope. That decision can make things worse. Spend time around the ones who care about you.

I suggest that one seeks out other loved ones on that day, finding relatives and friends who understands and empathizes with your feelings of loss. Get together with them and share memories of your loved one’s favorite story, song, poem and make it tradition.

Volunteer your time and services being active for a cause.

Visit a nursing home or hospital when you can. Help others through their depressed state if you can. When we put our energies towards something constructive and it can benefit others, it is a good feeling booster. Start a support group. Forming support groups to share your sorrow, experience, and ways for you and others to appropriately cope during the holidays is such a great thing by all accounts, in that you move towards healing and restoration, while helpings other become healed and restored.

Attend to yourself for the moment.

Take time to reflect and even if you need a moment of silence to yourself during this holiday season, it is okay, so long as you don’t remain isolated and withdrawn from others throughout the day. Praying also helps. • Accept that you have to continue to live. It takes strength and courage to live and adjust after a loss.

Determine that you are going to keep it moving and make you and your mom proud. For closure, writing a letter to your departed helps to express any words and thoughts you believed you didn’t have a chance to express.

• Seek professional help.

I always tell my clients how impressed and commendable it is for them to seek and actually go to counseling, because it is a sign of strength, not weakness. So if one can’t cope alone, that’s what therapists like I and others are here for!


Final Thoughts

Overall, understand, embrace, acknowledge, and accept your responses, emotions, and thoughts as you cope with your loss during the holiday season. While people are being happy and jovial expecting you to be happy and jovial, it is ok to be true to yourself. Emotions are facts, pinpointing the reality of how you really feel. It is all in the matter of how you manage your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. It does take time and patience to cope, so be patient with yourself, give yourself time, and appreciate the good times spent with your loved one. They may not be physically with you, but their memory and legacy lives on, in and through you!

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