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Coping with grief over the festive period (December 2020)

Losing a loved one, no matter what the circumstances, is one  of the most difficult things that we can go through. It can be even tougher during the festive period this year, when it seems like people are celebrating around you or when restrictions mean that you can’t see your support network the way you normally do. 

With all the changes happening due to COVID-19, it is understandable to miss ‘normal’ life and mourn the loss of what you thought 2020 was going to be. We’re all feeling a shared sense of grief during this time but will be experiencing it in very different ways. There are no set rules to grieving. 

Here are some ideas on how to cope with your grief during  the festive period:

Have a plan
Take some time to think about which festivities you feel comfortable participating in, and which ones you don’t. Decide what you want to do around the festive period and know that it’s okay to say ‘no’. If current restrictions mean you can’t get together in-person with your loved ones, think about other ways that you can all come together safely so that you still feel connected and supported.

Keep a routine and look after yourself
With everything that’s going on across the festive period, it might mean that you can’t keep to your usual routines. This can often make it easy for people to forget to look after themselves. Simple things like sticking to regular sleeping patterns and eating well can have a real impact on our wellbeing. 

Do something to remember your loved one
Thinking about ways you can remember your loved one can be a comforting way to celebrate their life and keep  their memory close this Christmas. You could hang something special on your tree, look at old photos, or cook their favourite meal. 

Ask for help when you need it
Christmas can be a hard time for many of us, but it can be particularly challenging when you’re trying to cope with grief. It’s okay to ask for help when you need it, so do try to open up to your loved ones and make the time to connect with those around you, even if it’s online.

If you don’t feel able, remember that there are people you can turn to who are here to listen. You can call Samaritans on 116 123 or Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87. 

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