Christmas – coping with bereavement
Christmas can be a very difficult time of year. It’s always brings the family memories rushing forward, especially if it a first anniversary since your loved one passed away.
We have a few ideas for surviving Christmas but everyone is different so please do speak to others who have been through the experience, they may have some helpful advice. There are also lots of great charities who have great support websites which can be useful even if you don’t feel up to going along to one of their groups.
Make sure you know what you want to do
Christmas is a stressful time and many demands are placed on you by family, friends and colleagues. Do take time to think about how you want to spend the day so that you can deal with requests. You may want do something completely different, get away from home or volunteer in a soup kitchen. Or, you may prefer to gather your close family around you, or even cancel it altogether. Keep plans flexible so that you can decide when you know how you feel and change your plans if you want to.
Remember your loved one
Some people find it helpful to take time to remember their loved one, this might include a visit to the grave or wherever you have scattered the ashes, or a place that was special to them.
Make time to look through photos or memories with family and friends, it’s good to talk about them.
Look after yourself
It is very important to nurture yourself during this difficult time of the year, let others look after you. Simple things like hot baths and walks in the countryside or park can all help to lift your spirits.
Christmas is a time of over-indulgence and there is often a lot of alcohol being offered, whilst drowning the pain may seem like a good idea it is only a temporary solution and do remember it is a depressant. Exercise, if you can manage it, will make you feel better in the long-term
There is no right or wrong way
Grief is as individual as you are and your loved one was, there is no right way to grieve and also there is no wrong way. If your emotions take over on the day, don’t feel alarmed, it’s perfectly natural. Just take some time to yourself. Keep talking and remember to be kind to yourself.
The Bereavement Advice Centre has a list of really helpful organisations including Cruse which offers psychological and emotional support in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Hope Again a wonderful charity that focuses on helping young people cope with loss.