Grief is prevalent all year round, but the holidays can increase feelings of grief and sadness significantly. This is because many people used to spend time with the loved ones they’ve lost during the holiday season, made memories, or had annual traditions that may have faded. If you are struggling with these feelings, you are not alone!
Grief and Its Signs:
The American Psychological Association defines grief as “Grief is the anguish experienced after significant loss, usually the death of a beloved person…Grief often includes physiological distress, separation anxiety, confusion, yearning, obsessive dwelling on the past, and apprehension about the future. Intense grief can become life-threatening through disruption of the immune system, self-neglect, and suicidal thoughts. It may also take the form of regret for something lost, remorse for something done, or sorrow for a mishap to oneself”.
Grief may also cause isolating from others, not wanting to partake in social or holiday events, depression, feeling numb, among other things. While it is completely normal to go through the cycle of grief (link) and many parts of it are completely normal, it is important to recognize that when these feelings have persisted for over 6 months, it might be useful to talk to a grief counselor about what has been going on.
With that being said, it is no question that grief can contribute to a variety of mental health and even physical health struggles.That’s why it is so important to take care of yourself this holiday season. You may be wondering, “How can I do that when I’m so overwhelmed?” or “Where do I even start?”. Our previous blog post provides tips on how to prioritize self-care during this busy time of year. Our December newsletter will also be featuring many resources on this topic!
Dealing with Grief
For grief in particular, self-care may look different. When grieving a loved one, here are a few things that can help:
- Keeping traditions alive or creating new traditions in the loved one’s memory
- Taking a break from the pressures of socialization and taking time for yourself when necessary
- Talking through your grief with family, friends, or a grief counselor
- Journaling about memories or feelings related to the loss of the loved one you are grieving
The most important thing you can do when managing grief is being gentle and patient with yourself. It is not your fault that you are feeling this way, and it is completely normal to have moments of sadness during these times.
If you know someone who is struggling with grief, be sure to check on them this holiday season, and don’t pressure them to do things they may not be up for.
All in all, struggling with grief and helping others through it can be overwhelming, but Suburban Research wants you to know that you are never alone.