It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, not for everyone.
While many of us are looking forward to spending quality time with friends and family, many others are struggling to get through this time of year. The loss of a loved one can make the holidays particularly painful. With such an emphasis on family and togetherness, the holidays can be an unintentional grief trigger for many people.
If someone you care about is struggling, it can be difficult to know what to say or do to offer support. We’ve outlined four simple ways to help someone through their holiday grief this year.
Ask Them How They’re Doing
Someone going through grief may feel alone or isolated, so it’s a good idea to ask them how they’re feeling. They may mention specific times when they feel particularly low or feelings they didn’t expect to have, like anxiety.
Remember that it’s not your job to fix anything, so take any of that pressure off of yourself. You likely couldn’t fix the situation if you tried, so instead, just be there for your friend. Let them know that they’re not alone and you’re always there to listen. They’ll probably feel some noticeable relief from that alone.
Make Concrete Plans
“Let me know if there’s anything I can do” is one of those well-intentioned phrases that actually doesn’t help. Frequently, the last thing grieving people want is to feel like a burden on the ones they love, so chances are they won’t reach out to you even though you offered.
Instead of leaving the reaching out to them, offer actual plans. Maybe it’s a standing weekly dinner date, like meeting up for tacos every Tuesday. This gives your friend something consistent to rely on, without them having to do the work.
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About It
If your friend lost a loved one, talking about who they lost can actually be comforting. It probably feels like talking about it will be too painful for your friend, and it might be, but oftentimes sharing happy memories can help heal.
Also, by talking about the deceased, you acknowledge what happened. This can help let your friend know that you’re not someone who will shy away from difficult feelings or conversations, which can be very comforting.
Make New Holiday Traditions
Starting something new is a great way to help grieving people look towards the future. Keeping some traditions alive will help remember those who are no longer there, but new traditions offer up possibilities for new memories to be formed.
Plus, your new tradition can be as big or as small, and involve as many or as little people, as you’d like. If you’re hoping to have a laugh, look for a new game for everyone to play. If your friend likes cooking, you could find a new recipe to try each year– spending all day in the kitchen together can be a great, low-pressure way to connect.
While this is undoubtedly a hard time for your loved one, you have the ability to help lessen some of their burden. Reach out, be consistent, and remember that there’s no right or wrong way to grieve – your friend will appreciate your support.
Neurocore makes no claims that it can cure any conditions, including any conditions referenced on its website or in print materials, including ADHD, anxiety, autism, depression, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, migraines, headaches, stress, sleep disorders, Alzheimer’s and dementia. If you take prescription medications for any of these conditions, you should consult with your doctor before discontinuing use of such medications.