can be a wonderful time of year. Commonly, this is a time to
gather and celebrate with family and friends. For someone who
has experienced the death of a loved one, those sights, sounds
and smells remind them of what they donít have this holiday
season. The emotions and physical reactions of grief may
affect them more strongly than anticipated, says Jessie Wolf,
licensed independent clinical social worker at Mayo Clinic
of and acknowledge the emotions and physical reactions
experienced. People facing grief may be tempted to isolate
because being around people takes a lot of effort. They may
feel sad, easily overwhelmed, sapped of energy, tearful and
angry. Having these feelings during the holiday season can be
hard, but know feeling this way is acceptable. Responses such
as these show how much you love and miss your friend or family
explains some things to consider when feeling or witnessing
Grief doesnít stop or end because of the holiday.
Grief knows no timeline.
Grief can feel heavier during the holiday season because the
focus is on being with loved ones.
Continue to be mindful of speech. Many people offer
condolences by saying, "Theyíre in a better place"
or "Everything happens for a reason" or "Donít
feel guilty" or "Itís not your fault."
Statements such as these are intended to help the bereaved
person feel better. However, these comments minimize the
personís feelings and donít allow for further
conversation. Alternatively, ask questions and create an
environment that fosters dialogue.
Offer a supportive presence, and donít try to fix or make
everything better. Acknowledge their emotional state, and
avoid telling them not feel what theyíre feeling.
Prescribing their emotions can result in them no longer being
comfortable sharing. Itís okay to feel the feelings.
gentle with yourself and know the holiday time will be
difficult. Embrace the notion that undergoing a variety of
emotions during the holidays is normal.
Develop a backup plan for the holidays. For example, carve out
time to attend a family event. Itís also important to have a
backup plan. If you should feel overwhelmed the day of an
event or any other time, go with plan B.
open and honest with your family and friends by letting them
know your plans may change based on how you feel that day.
to memorialize a person who has died can be cathartic and
bring joy to a potentially challenging holiday season.
Remember your loved one as a family or friend group ó make
their favorite food, share memories at the table, leave their
favorite spot at the table open, go through scrapbook or light
a memorial candle. Additionally, you could donate a gift to
charity in your loved oneís honor or do something nice for
someone else in their memory. Choose to do something thatís
special to you and your late loved one.
your symptoms feel unmanageable or you need additional
support, please connect with a mental health or primary care
provider," says Wolf.