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6 Tips to Surviving Mother's Day Grief

In 2012, when I was 14, I lost my mum to cancer. I’m now 19, and of course, I’m still affected every day by this loss. Mother’s Day is particularly hard for those who are grieving their mothers. Over the years I’ve found ways to help cope during this time, and I wanted to share them with anyone who could use them — you’re going to be all right.

1) Stay off social media

Facebook, Instagram, and the lot are flooded with “Mum appreciation posts.” While this is lovely and warming, for those grieving, seeing this can be painful. I find social media just exacerbates those negative feelings, so I suggest on Mother’s Day, and perhaps some days after, you refrain from these sites and apps.

2) Self-care

It’s not uncommon to forget or neglect taking care of yourself when you’re mentally struggling, but when you’re feeling down, this is the most important time to be kind to yourself. Eating and drinking enough is a must, as well as not ruminating on negative thoughts or being mean to yourself. Hey, you’re the child of your mum, you are a part of her and she is a part of you, and I bet she would want you to show yourself compassion.

3) Reach out

Whether it’s confiding in family, friends, a counselor, or helpline, it’s helpful to talk to someone. It can be so tempting to withdraw and shut yourself off, but this does no good for me.

4) Focus on the good memories

For me, Mother’s Day can bring up some awful memories and images and thoughts, and this is not uncommon. It can be difficult, but try to concentrate on positives. This may involve looking through photo albums of happy times, reading through old birthday cards or funny text messages, or just taking time to sit down and think about your fondest memories with your mum.

5) Let yourself feel your emotions

Cry if you need to, smile when you want to; it’s an emotional time and your body may want to release all those feelings. Let it. Internalizing it all is unhealthy, and it’s OK to feel. It’s OK.

6) Celebrate your mum’s life

Some people visit the cemetery with flowers, some people visit a favorite place they used to go with their mum, or maybe do an activity she loved, or listen to her favorite song — this isn’t only a time to grieve. You’re allowed to do something enjoyable, and you’re allowed honor her life this way.

Know you’re not alone on Mother’s Day. You’re brave and you can get through the day.

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Thinkstock photo by piyato