When the Holidays are Difficult …
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The holidays are meant to be a time for cheerfulness, gaiety, family, smiles, laughter, and memory making. On the other hand, how do we go about handling the holidays if grieving the loss of a loved one or we are living with a mental health issue?  


The website, “What’s Your Grief” shares 64 tips in an article entitled “64 Tips for Coping with Grief at the Holiday.”  Two themes stand out in the article: 1) Don’t try to act as if everything is okay when it isn’t, and 2) Remember/honor the one being grieved. Here are a few from the list:

  • Acknowledge that the holidays will be different and they will be tough
  • Create a new tradition in memory of your loved one
  • Remember not everyone will be grieving the same way you are grieving
  • Be honest. Tell people what you do want to do for the holidays and what you don’t
  • Don’t get trapped, drive yourself. This way if they get to be too much you can leave.
  • Ignore people who feel the need to tell what you “should” bed doing for the holiday
  • Remember, it is okay to be happy – this doesn’t diminish how much you love and miss the person who isn’t there this holiday.  Don’t feel guilty for the joy you do find this holiday season.

Let’s all admit it…the holidays can be a stressful and overwhelming time. Yet, what if every day is already a struggle for you? What are the holidays like for someone who suffers with bipolar disorder, anxiety, OCD, or depression? PsychCentral, a mental health website, has a host of supportive suggestions within the articles from their bloggers on their website. The website states, “We can’t stop the world from turning, but perhaps a few of the articles…will help you better manage the emotional challenges that the holidays present.”

There are a few similar suggestions in the articles on PsychCentral:

  • Don’t overextend yourself. Prioritize
  • Set boundaries
  • Keep your routine when possible.
  • Get plenty of rest. This one is almost comical though….

We all know the holidays will be busy. Yet, we must remember if we are stressed and overwhelmed, the time may end up being memorable for the wrong reason. Do what you can to minimize the stress and make enjoyable memories this holiday season.

Reference: 64 Tips for Coping with Grief at the Holidays. Accessed at:


Accessed on: December 10, 2017.


Reference: Coping with the Holidays Survival Guide. Accessed at:

https://psychcentral.com/holidays/. Accessed on December 10, 2017.

Accessed on: November 19, 2017.