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How to Navigate Grief Through The Holidays

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Grief can be complicated at the best of times but when we add in holidays it can turn into

feelings of despair and loneliness.

Blond woman with ponytail sitting on a grey couch staring out of window

Like many others, I have dealt with navigating new and old grief over the holidays. It's taken time for me to feel comfortable with continued traditions and some new traditions. I've made a choice in my grief journey to use the holidays as a time of remembrance and remind myself of the joy that comes in moments. It has been helpful in managing my emotions and taking space for myself in such a hectic time. We all choose to grieve in different ways and the most important way is acknowledging those needs.

It can be tricky when we place expectations on ourselves, some that may look like continuing

traditions, visiting family members, adjusting to a new normal, etc. There is no perfect answer for how we're supposed to deal with grief.

There can be helpful things to remember during the holiday season. Whether we choose to spend it alone or with our loved ones, it's important to remember only to do things that feel right for you. There's no expectation to have everything go back to the way it was. Using the time to lean on support can be beneficial for more than just yourself. It’s okay to acknowledge your feelings no matter what you are feeling.

Man reading a book on a chair facing the window, christmas tree in the corner, the room is dark

Some tips for dealing with grief over the holiday season:

1. Listen to your needs. It’s okay to make choices that work for you, you don’t owe your

time to anyone else.

2. Reach out for support. Friends, family, support groups, etc. can be great support networks.

3. Honour the people that have passed.

4. Keep yourself busy. (Pick up a hobby, read a book, do something you love)

5. Be flexible in your expectations.

6. Give yourself and others permission to grieve.

7. Self-care habits.

8. Communicate your needs and boundaries. People won’t know what you’re feeling unless

you share.

"Grief is not a disorder, a disease, or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical, and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve."

- Earl Grollman

Needing some support during the holidays? Click here to book a free virtual consultation with one of our therapists!


Written by: Alexandria Testani RSW

Alexandira, a woman with dark hair, glasses and a warm smile

Alexandria is a registered social service worker, currently completing her masters of social work at Wilfrid Laurier University. She works with adults in a variety of areas, including grief and loss, anxiety and depression, self-esteem and worth, and more. Alexandria is currently accepting new clients.

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