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How to cope with grief over the holidays

Tue 1st Dec 2020

For those who have lost a loved one, the holiday period can be an especially difficult time, especially if it's the first Christmas and New Year without them. During the holidays, experiencing a wide range of emotions is normal. While grief can be an unpredictable and individual experience, you don't have to feel this way on your own.

If you're feeling overwhelmed this holiday season, there are mental health resources available that specialise in grief counselling, ensuring that you can manage your grief during this time. Here are a number of ways that you can remember them this holiday season, and help to come to terms with the loss.

Share the holiday with loved ones

For some people, withdrawing from social events and interactions can be a natural response to overwhelming grief. Reach out to family, friends and loved ones to not only celebrate the holidays but to reflect on your memories with the person who has passed is a nice way to celebrate the holidays and help heal, accept your feelings and surround yourself with people who love you.

Reach out to your community

If you don't have anyone to share your holiday with, you still don't need to spend it alone. Volunteering is a great way to mark the occasion and give back to your community in honour of the person you're missing. Otherwise, there are plenty of local Church and Community groups that get together during the holiday period, and will be willing to comfort and support you at this difficult time. You can find community groups on your local government website, and you can find local Christmas church services in newspapers and online.

Celebrate your memories

We create beautiful memories with our loved ones during the holiday season, and sometimes it can help the grieving process to focus on these. If you had special holiday traditions with your loved one, like decorating a tree, listening to your favourite Christmas carols or watching fireworks on New Years Eve, try to continue them this year if it isn't painful for you. You might find that bringing back these pleasant memories will help you remember the happy times you had together, and will make the holidays that little bit easier.

Speak with a professional

There are a number of professional services that are available during the holiday period.

Beyond Blue provides Australians with information and support to improve their mental health. Call 1300 22 46 36 or visit beyondblue.org.au for more information.

Lifeline Australia provides Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support. Call 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au for more information.

GriefLine listens, cares and supports people experiencing loss and grief, at any stage in life. Call 1300 845... , 6am to midnight AEST, 7 days a week.

You can find a number of other resources and options available here.