Managing Christmas when you’re grieving
The lead-up to Christmas can feel quite intense when you’re grieving. The pressure to please others and act normally can leave you feeling drained.
However, by planning ahead, and managing the situation, you can take out some of the overwhelm. Here are some tips to help you prepare.
Plan what you would all like to happen
If you have family,organise a discussion and plan what you would all like to happen. Others might have been feeling the same as you, and might be relieved that you’ve taken an element of control. This means that nobody’s worried about upsetting each other on the day.
There is no right or wrong
You might decide that a different kind of Christmas is in order, or you might want to do what you’ve always done. There is no right or wrong. By talking about it, it will make it easier for everyone, as some specific traditions might be too much for some. Also,everyone will know what to expect.
Be open and honest
If you have children, include them in making the plans. Be honest when talking to them – express how sad you are that Mum/Dad/Grandma/Uncle won’t be there and that it’s going to be different this year. Ask them if there’s anything they’d like to do to acknowledge them.
Start a new tradition
You could start a new tradition to remember them, such as playing their favourite board game, sharing memories, lighting a candle, listening to a particular song, or going for a walk together.
Prepare a quiet place
Have a ‘get out’ plan. If you’re going to someone else’s house, ask if there’s a room you can borrow if you need a little break. Explain that you might need some time out without everyone questioning and wondering where you are.
With a well designed plan, you might even be able to look forward to certain parts of Christmas. Instead of waiting for the special day with dread, you can relax,and know what to expect.
Maria Bailey is an Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist based near Torquay, Devon, where she lives with her husband, three children and two dogs. Maria uses the Grief Recovery Method, a short action programme via Zoom, to mainly help people who have lost loved ones to cancer and Covid-19. In her spare time, Maria is also a school governor and preschool chairman.