Care Dimensions: 4 Grief Support Tips for the Holidays

Voices of Care

4 Grief Support Tips for the Holidays

Posted on December 17, 2019 by April Evans

We all can feel lonely amid a group or crowd, especially when everyone seems to be celebrating and enjoying one another’s company. When we’re grieving the loss of a loved one, this sense of loneliness is often heightened, and the winter holidays can evoke many additional emotions, including anger, guilt and sadness.  Sometimes, the bouts of sadness are intermittent, or they may pervade the entire holiday season.

Here are four grief support tips to help you not only survive the holidays, but to also find some solace during the season:

  1. Delete the “shoulds” from your self-talk. Try to release your “shoulds” about the holidays, such as, “I should be happy.” Or, “I should not be angry.” You “should” be feeling just as you are feeling. There are no right or wrong feelings and no timeline for grief.   
  2. Minimize negative coping behaviors.  Excessive drinking and unhealthy eating (like too many of your friend’s holiday cookies) may impact your coping abilities and your overall health.
  3. Get exercise. Move your body in any way that feels good for you; it will inevitably help to relieve the stress, tension, and anxiety that may be part of your holidays.
  4. Plan ahead. Try to anticipate what may be the most difficult aspects of the holidays so that you can make and stick to a plan. Some of your activity plans might include:
  • Prepare and rehearse a standard response for when someone asks you how you are feeling or gives you their unsolicited advice about your grief.
  • Take time alone if that gives you comfort, but do not isolate yourself completely from others, or;
  • Make plans to be with others if the distraction and connection are most healing for you.

Learn about our Grief Support Program, including free bereavement groups.


About the author

April Evans is Manager of Bereavement Services for Care Dimensions.

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Since 1978, Care Dimensions has provided comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals and families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. As the non-profit leader in advanced illness care, we offer services in more than 95 communities in Eastern Massachusetts.