How to handle the stress of Christmas – Grief and Loss

Christmas is a time of great busyness. There are presents to buy. Food to purchase and prepare. There are Christmas events to attend. Family visits to prepare for. The list is endless and varied. The decorations and stories say peaceful times. But for the individual the extra busyness can be anything but relaxing.

The emotional impact of Christmas is massive. It is the undercurrent to all the busyness. It is the racing heart. The sadness. The rising panic. The anger. The loneliness.

Life doesn’t stop because it is Christmas. It is likely to impact more at Christmas. There are all the reminders of the hurts you can more easily manage at other times of the year.

When you have lost someone you love through death or estrangement, it can feel harder at Christmas, which traditionally includes family.

So how do you cope with that?

It is important to acknowledge your feelings. Yes you hurt. You may hurt terribly. And you always will hurt. Trying to push the hurt away will only make it have a stronger impact on your life. Be okay to sit with it. Be okay to have your sad times. Be okay to have a Christmas that is different.

For some people, there is a belief that it is wrong to be happy after what has been lost. Do you feel that way? Grief involves a wide range of emotions including happiness. Being happy doesn’t mean you are not hurting. The hurt will always be there. So accept the happiness when it comes. Just as you need to accept the sadness when it comes.

This Christmas may be very different from previous ones. You may not feel as happy. But it doesn’t have to be a horrible Christmas.

  • Jo sets a place for her estranged son at the table and prays someday he will sit at it.
  • Amy cooks the cake her mother used to cook and remembers her.
  • Phil visits the beach his wife loved walking on.
  • Trina lights a Jasmine Candle to remember her murdered daughter.
  • Lorraine places ornaments that represent the new life she has created after the devastation of her divorce.

They all acknowledge the sadness. They all say the first few years were really hard. All of them find talking to a Counsellor is really helpful.

It is possible to survive Christmas when grieving. You may not be as happy as you once were. In time you will find a new way to be. A new way to experience happy moments. A new way to find happiness at Christmas. On that journey you may find visiting a Counsellor helpful.

If you would like to talk, ring 0409396608 for an appointment.

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