The festive season is often associated with joy, celebration, and togetherness. However, for those experiencing grief, this time of year can be particularly challenging. The holiday break can intensify feelings of loss, longing, and hurt. Here are some coping strategies for individuals, children and young people navigating grief during the festive period.

  • Acknowledge Your Feelings:

It’s essential to recognize and accept your emotions, and those of children and young people. Allow yourself to feel sadness, anger, or any other emotions that may arise. Grief is a unique and personal experience, and it’s okay to grieve in your own way and time. Children and young people may want to socialise more, or less – they may want to hear stories about their special person, or not. Take the time to explore feelings and emotions and accept there is no right or wrong way to feel.

  • Plan Ahead:

Consider planning your festive activities in advance. Decide which traditions and activities feel manageable and bring comfort and be willing to let go of those that may be too overwhelming. Communicate with friends and family loved to ensure understanding and support, so that you are not forced into a situation you feel is triggering or uncomfortable.

  • Create New Traditions:

Adapting old traditions or creating new ones can be a positive way to honour your special person’s memory. Consider incorporating a meaningful ritual, such as lighting a candle, sharing stories, or doing an activity that was special to your loved one. If you did something every year as a family, if it feels right, carry on that tradition, or find a way to mark that special activity in a new way, which can be a new tradition to keep.

  • Seek Support:

Connect with others who understand. Consider joining a grief workshop or group, find professional support, or reach out to friends and family members who can provide advice and care. Grief Encounter offers a range of support services, including counselling and group sessions. Our helpline is open 9am – 9pm weekdays on 0808 802 0111 for free and confidential support.

  • Establish Boundaries:

Set boundaries to protect your well-being during the festive season. It’s okay to say no to or limit the time spent in situations that may be challenging. Self-care is so important, so give yourself permission to take time out and explore your own feelings.

  • Creative Expression:

Sometimes, when saying the words becomes too difficult, using creativity as a form of expression can help. Journaling, for example in the Grief Encounter Teen Journal, or creating a piece of art in honour of your loved one can be very therapeutic. It can help you, or a child or young person, process their grief and share their feelings without having to say everything they may find too difficult to say.

  • Focus on Self-Care:

Take care of your physical and emotional wellbeing. Ensure you get enough rest, eat regularly, and engage in activities that bring comfort and relaxation. Exercise can sometimes be helpful, even if just a short walk, and see friends when you need companionship. Set your own boundaries and make sure you are comfortable to do anything you agree to.

The festive season can of course make grief feel magnified, and open up feelings that you may have thought were easing. With support, time, understanding, and self-care, it is possible to move through the holiday break positively. Remember that grief will always be a unique and ongoing process, and it’s okay to get professional support if you are struggling. Grief Encounter provide support and guidance in various ways. Please contact us for more support options. 0808 802 0111.