Dealing with Grief Over the Holidays

Dealing with Grief Over the Holidays

Mental health professionals caution that the holiday season tends to trigger intense internal feelings that haven’t truly been dealt with in a positive manner. Suicide hotlines field numerous calls during this time of the year, and it is not uncommon for mental health in-patient units to quickly fill their beds as the holidays come and go. Dealing with grief can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be.

Our Raleigh psychiatrists have some practical guidelines for dealing with grief and depression. There are positive ways of coping with loss that can be very effective.

Dealing with Grief

Why Do Holidays Seem to Trigger Depression for Someone Dealing with Grief

People all deal with death and grief in different ways. Some will appear to be holding up well only to fall apart inside at the sight of a Christmas tree or other holiday reminder. It is not uncommon for many individuals to compartmentalize their deeply personal inner feelings bottling them up where no one can see.

This tends to only work for a time, as unresolved intense feelings can eat away at the person’s energy stores leaving them feeling lost, exhausted and sad. Normal sadness that occurs after someone close to us dies can turn into chronic depression if these feelings aren’t dealt with in a positive manner.

Holidays & Other Special Family Dates Can Bring Forth Unresolved Feelings of Loss

Sometimes it is those little things that can open the floodgates of loss, sadness and true grief. A certain song that your loved one that passed away always loved, the sight of holiday decorations or the empty chair at the table can all bring on tears or other intense emotions.

A local psychiatrist wants people to know that these feelings are all very normal. It is very common for the left behind family members to find themselves missing their loved one during family events and certain dates that remind us of the frailty of life and the unrelenting march of time.

Try to Speak of Your Loss with Compassionate Friends, Family, or Counselor

While it is alright to take some time to grieve by yourself away from prying eyes, when those deep feelings of loss linger on for months or years, it is time to seek out some type of support and professional counseling. Many people have found that sharing stories about their departed loved ones helps to release some of that pent up emotion.

Different support groups in your community can be a wealth of assistance and a place to feel safe talking about things that only someone who has experienced the same situation truly understands. Professional counseling with a caring mental health therapist can help immensely over time.

Healthy Ways to Cope with Loss Can Move Us On the Road to Healing

There is no real right way to grief or deal with deep loss from losing someone we cherish and love. Having someone to listen without judgment can be soothing. Just getting it out in words can help people heal from the inside out. Depending on our upbringing and cultural norms, it may be more difficult for some to talk about such private things. Being patient and supportive can make a world of difference.

Finding New Holiday Traditions & Meeting New Friends Can Help Someone Dealing with Grief

Holidays are often stressful for those still dealing with grief due to the death of someone close to them. Friends, neighbors, and other family members can help by including these people in their own holiday celebrations. Getting out to meet new people can help too. Making new holiday traditions can help the loss be filled with the joy of new hope and beginnings.

What Others Can Do to Help Someone Dealing with Grief

In reality, it is those small acts of kindness that make the scary world seem friendlier and enjoyable. Sending a note just telling the person that they are thought of and cared about can help heal their sadness. Inviting the person over for dinner and volunteering to put up their holiday lights. Also, offering coffee and baked goods with a listening ear can all help ease the lonely feelings.

Remember to take care of yourself during this time. Eat healthy foods, try to get outdoors for fresh air on a regular basis is great for your mind. Also, have a bedtime schedule to unwind before sleep.

Seek Treatment at a Mental Health Center

It may be necessary to be on some medication to help with the anxiety or depression for a time. This works best when other measures like counseling or attending support groups are done as well. We hope this useful guide on dealing with grief will help you during the holidays.

This is where building healthy coping skills begin. It is possible to find happiness after grief and loss. Reach out to MedPsych Integrated by phone or online via

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