Dealing With Loss and Grief During the Holiday Season

It is important to recognize signs of grief in us because from there, you can get the necessary help to find healthy coping methods. Dr. Megan describes grief as a natural response to losing someone or something important. Grief occurs when a loved one passes away, you lose a job, a relationship ends, or you face a major life change such as moving or an illness. It is important to remember that everyone grieves differently; you should not feel guilty about how you choose to grieve.

Are you feeling guilty about going through holiday traditions or celebrating without your loved ones? Dr. Megan provides great advice for celebrating the holidays while keeping your loved ones close:

• Talk about the death, memories and traditions that they were a part of, or create new traditions to continue honoring them
• Accept your feelings – everyone grieves differently, and you should not feel guilty about how you feel
• Do not deny or push away the feeling of being overwhelmed
• Take care of yourself and your family – this might mean putting aside time to spend together doing something fun
• It is okay to take a break and have time alone – there is no obligation that you must buy a certain number of gifts, go places or see people

You may be wondering: at what point should you get help? It is important to keep track of your feelings and recognize when you may be showing signs of depression versus sadness. Dr. Megan describes depression as being longer lasting and more severe in how your previous feelings were.

• When you have trouble keeping up with your normal routine – this includes cooking, cleaning and going to work
• If you feel like your life no longer has a purpose and you do not see a reason to live
• If you have the inability to stop blaming yourself or feeling guilty

If these are things you struggle with, it may be time to talk to someone. Reach out to your primary care provider – they can direct you to a place where you can meet with a professional. Even a simple Google search for therapists or psychologists within your local community will provide you with great options. Lastly, Dakota Family Services offers a variety of services with licensed individuals who can help you deal with grief.

Remember, you should not feel ashamed or guilty in how you are feeling while dealing with grief. It’s important to remember that everyone grieves differently and there is no “fix all” for getting back into a normal routine.

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