Here’s how to get through grief during the holidays.
MADISON, Wis. — The holidays are supposed to be the happiest time of the year – but they can be anything but for anyone navigating grief this season.
If you or someone you know is dealing with loss – whether it’s a divorce, the death of a family member or something else – UW Health Psychologist Shilagh Mirgain has some advice on how to navigate grief this holiday season.
1. Acknowledge your loss. Allow yourself to experience the emotions – whether that’s through conversation, journaling or writing a letter you don’t intend to send. Talk about your memories and let yourself feel how you’re feeling.
2. Reach out for support. Know you’re not alone in the process. “When we connect with that sense of support, we can feel like we can bear it knowing others, too, are going through something like we are.”
3. Likewise, reach out to support. If someone you know is going through grief, check in on them – right away, one month from now, six months from now. Support can begin to dwindle as time goes on. Make time to check in regularly with your loved one.
4. “I’m sorry. I’m here for you.” Oftentimes, it can be easy to avoid the issue or pretend nothing is wrong. Perhaps you want to find the silver lining or reach for the bromide – “it could have been worse,” “they’re happier now.” Don’t try to find the solution – acknowledge the loss and let your loved one know you’re there to listen.
5. Find meaning. It can be healing to focus on what good you can do out of your loss; making a difference in someone else’s life might help you find purpose again.
Find more advice from Dr. Mirgain and UW Health here .
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