a person playing with the sleeve on their jumper

Coping with loss during the holidays

Grief and loss are difficult to deal with, you never know how they will affect you. When you suffer a loss, that could be the death of someone important, a relationship breakup or a big life change. This can make the holidays harder to cope with.  

When people around you are planning things to do with family and friends in the holidays, that can remind you of who or what you’ve lost. You might feel lonely, sad or anxious. 

Everyone experiences grief and loss differently. During the holidays you can take time to look after yourself and be mindful of how you feel. It is okay to do what is right for you. 

Tell people what you need 

You can tell people you trust how you feel and what you need. You might cope better and feel less alone.  

You could: 

  • tell your family or friends when you are feeing sad 
  • talk about any activities you might want to do and plan some things to do together 

Celebrate memories 

If you’ve lost someone, remembering them can help bring you comfort. 

You could: 

  • go through some old photos and make an album 
  • talk about them to family and friends 
  • remember your loved one by creating a memorial  

Take a break 

The holidays can be a busy time and there can be pressure to take part in activities. Grief and loss can make you feel very tired, and you might not have the same energy as you would at other times.  

You could: 

  • explain how you feel to people, to help them understand that you might not feel like doing something 
  • avoid things or places that make you feel stressed 
  • leave early if you are out with family or friends and it doesn’t feel right 

Set boundaries 

You can set boundaries during the holidays to help you look after yourself.  

Examples of boundaries could be to: 

  • tell people if you want to miss an activity 
  • move at your own pace 
  • know your own limits  

Express yourself 

Everyone will experience grief or loss at some point. It can be tempting to keep your feelings in, but this might not be the best way.  

You could try to: 

  • talk about your loss to friends or family 
  • take some time for yourself 
  • look at photos 
  • write how you feel down or draw something 
  • meditatate as a way to stay connected to your thoughts and feelings 

Grief can be hard, especially over the holidays, but there are ways to help yourself feel better. It’s okay to feel happy without feeling guilty.  

grief• stress• friends