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How to Cope With Grief During the Holidays


Jasmin Merdan / Moment

Families across America spend Thanksgiving with their loved ones. But for others grieving the death of a loved one, the holidays can be overwhelming.

Coping with sadness and depression is a bigger challenge during the holidays.

“When you lose a loved one because of COVID-19, you’re adjusting to a new way of life without that person,” said Cassandra Godzik, associate dean and professor of the School of Nursing at Regis College , speaks of Health. “And the holiday season, which is likely centered on our loved ones, will likely remind you of that loss.”

Godzik is a mental health nurse practitioner whose specialty is helping people cope with experiencing loss, grief, and grief.

“Even if you don’t lose someone on COVID-19, all of our lives are affected in some way by the pandemic-whether you lose your job, your salary is cut, or you have to compromise your past. way. of life in a way, “Godzik explained. “It’s all a loss, which can feel even harder now.”

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“We are conditioned to believe that this season should be happy, comfortable, and joyful,” Merryl Rothaus, LPC, a licensed professional counselor, said. HEALTH. “So if we don’t feel these things, we’re likely to think, There must be something wrong with me.

“Generally, people don’t want change,” Jill Dawson, LPC, a licensed professional consultant, says. HEALTH. “Actually, most of us work very hard to avoid it because of all the uncertainty that goes with it. If someone dies, we have to change — and that process is never comfortable.”

Dawson, whose mother died six months ago of ALS, will spend her first holidays without him. “Now, my grief is felt relentlessly with little fights,” he said. “I’m already feeling the lack of resources, and I know it’s the first Christmas and New Year without my mom forcing me to really feel the pain of that loss.”

Robin Gentry / EyeEm

People who have not experienced a family death may still feel lost during the holiday season. Not everyone has good relationships with family members.

Lack of communication or bad blood between family members can hit especially during the holiday season.

“The holidays are likely to shine a spotlight on everything you don’t have,” Gina Moffa, LCSW, a licensed clinical social worker based in New York City, says. HEALTH.

“Not everyone has a good relationship with their family or someone will go missing this year. COVID-19 arrived without warning and changed everything at once, and we still face the trauma of that. Add to that all of this is society’s insistence that the holidays be ‘perfect,’ and it’s a recipe for misery. ”

There is no easy way to deal with grief during the holiday season. Mental health workers recommend giving yourself permission to cancel holidays and give place to your grief.

“Meeting your pain rather than trying to extinguish it isn’t easy, but it’s the way to get through it,” Rothaus said.

Tara Moore / DigitalVision

Support others who are grieving. Order pizza and watch old movies.

Dawson suggests connecting with people who love you.

“When it comes to a family member or a friend, you don’t have to talk about your grief but just to interact with other people. Rely on the support of a church community or therapist. Healing balm that strengthens you during the festival and beyond. “



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