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Resources for handling the holidays after losing a loved one

Posted at 6:46 PM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 22:35:49-05

The holidays are just around the corner and while for many this is the happiest time of the year, for others it may be the hardest season yet.

“The reality is, especially when you’ve lost someone, the holidays are a very difficult time because you don’t feel like doing the things that other people do," said Anthony Huffaker, counseling director at SLO Hospice.

For some individuals, this holiday season may be the first one without a loved one.

Coraline Robinson, the program director at balance treatment says family members should consider some things when planning a holiday reunion that can reduce some triggers for someone grieving.

“If there’s gonna be alcohol, if there’s gonna be a lot of entertainment or loud noises or music or lots of kids, be aware that those kinds of things can really trigger people and be overwhelming so prepare for moderation," said Robinson.

Finding the balance between spending time alone to process and spending time with family is key this holiday season.

“Decide what you want to do and what you don’t want to do. If you are usually the person who organizes the holiday get-together and you just don’t have it in you this year that’s okay but, if you still want to have the get-together then maybe delegate to other people. You do this I’ll do that," said Huffaker.

Experts some healthy coping mechanisms include processing your emotions through talking or journaling, they also recommend being aware of extremes.

“We talk a lot about people having a plan 'a' and plan 'b'. You may think I really want to get together with the family that’s plan 'a', but then the day rolls around and you say 'ugh I’m not really up for it,  so then plan 'b' is something else you planned ahead like taking a walk instead," said Huffaker.

While this can be a difficult time for someone there are simple things you can do to show support.

“If someone isn’t ready to talk about grief or to even tell you how they are doing that’s okay. Don’t put pressure don’t expect that, just be willing to sit with them and be in company with them," said Robinson.

If you or someone you know has experienced the loss of a loved one, resources for SLO Hospice can be found here and for Balance Treatment here.