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Holidays bring on their own set of big emotions and expectations, however, this list may help reduce some of the unecessary stress, and emotion.

Plan Ahead

Bereaved individuals who experience the most difficulty with the holiday season are those who have given little thought to the challenges they will encounter. Consider ahead of time what may be expected of you, both socially and emotionally, as well as your own preferences.

Accept your limitations

Grief consumes most of your available energy no matter what the season. The holidays place additional demands on your time and emotions. Plan to lower your expectations to accomodate current needs.

Make Changes

Your circumstances have changed. Expect to make necessary alterations in holiday plans to accomodate those changes. Consider changing your surroundings, rituals and/or traditions to diminish stress. Serve notice on family and friends that things may be somewhat different this year.

Build in flexibility

Learn to “play it by ear”. There is no concrete formula for learning to deal with loss. You are the foremost authority on what is best for you, and your needs may legitimately change from day to day. Accept the fluctuations that must occur when walking unknown territory and learn to take each moment as it comes.

Inform others of your needs

Give family and friends the tools they need to help you through the holidays. Be specific with them about your preferences and desires and keep them up-to-date when those needs change.

Ask for and accept Help

Accept offers for assistance with holiday shopping, decorating, cleaning, cooking etc…. Chances are, loved ones are looking for ways to lessen your burden at this time of year. Allow those who care about you to offer their support in concrete ways.

Trim Down to essentials

Limit social and family commitments to suit your available energy. Shop early or use catalog sales. Re-evaluate priorities and forego unnecessary activities and obligations.

Give Yourself permission “To Be”

Allow breathing space and expect fluctuations in mood and perspective. The bereaved work overtime. Not only is life more complicated, but all energy is siphoned into mental and emotional resolution. Grieving is nature’s way of healing the mind and the heart from the greatest injury of all. Allow yourself the privilege of limping until your wounds have healed and you can learn to run again.


This information is from a posted flyer in the Facebook group and I’ve simply retyped it to make it easier to read. At the bottom of the original document it also says this: “Reprinted with permission: Joanetta Hendel, Bereavement Magazine(Nov/Dec ’89) 8133 Telegraph Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80920 (719)282-1948”