Coping with grief at Christmas

The festive holidays can bring up all sorts of emotions and there can be lots of expectations floating around to get things just right. If you are grieving or spending time with somebody who is trying to find a connection with the loved one they have lost, give space to all the thoughts and feelings that may arise.

  • Allow yourself to cry, tears are nature’s way of alleviating pain and strong emotions.
  • Spend your Christmas differently this year. Go somewhere special, spend the time with different friends or family, as staying at home might be too difficult for you and this is okay. Don’t try to cope alone, reach out to others.
  • You may also want to consider keeping traditions and routines you shared with your loved one, to bring you comfort, such as attending midnight mass, watching a favourite movie or taking part in a charity Christmas swim.
  • Connect with nature. Go for a long walk, feel the cold on your face and hear the noise of the leaves crunching under your feet. Breathe in the cool air and give yourself time to just be in the moment.
  • Be kind and look after yourself. Try not to judge your thoughts and feelings. Keep to a routine, eat regularly and stick to your sleeping patterns.
  • Try to remember that everyone grieves in their own way. When families and friends come together each person has their own views and ideas on best ways to remember loved ones. Try to remain mindful that others may not always know what to say.
  • Find ways to remember your loved one, this could be carrying a photo with you, wearing their winter scarf, visiting their resting place or somewhere that’s special to you and them. You may find it helps to talk to your loved one, either aloud or in your thoughts.
  • Try not to feel guilty when you have moments of enjoyment and laughter.

Remember, you can reach out to Big C by emailing us or calling our Support Line on 0800 0927640 for a friendly listening ear.  

A woman holding her hands in her lap
Other support available over Christmas

Cruse Bereavement Helpline – Call 0808 808 1677

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – Call 0808 196 3494 (available 24 hours a day)

Samaritans – Call 116 123 (available 24 hours a day)

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) – Call 0800 585858 (available 5pm until midnight 365 days a year)

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