4 Ways to Cope With Depression and Grief During the Holidays

As someone with anxiety and depression, I am susceptible to being sad for reasons I can’t pinpoint. Those who struggle with depression may know this feeling all too well. But when you mix grief into the picture, the root of the sadness and sometimes despair may become more evident. This year I lost my grandfather and my sweet Cairn terrier. We all deal with loss, but I especially sympathize for those who have lost a parent(s) or a child(ren). It is heart wrenching.

At this time of year, missing our loved ones tends to become exceptionally magnified. I run support groups specifically for this type of grief and sadness. Although our advice can never fully take the pain away, here are some tips that we give our participants during this time of year:

1. Do a Remembrance Tribute to Your Loved One(s)

Whether it’s letting a lantern go into the air or doing a special project with your kids that you place into some body of water, the feeling of release that comes with these kinds of projects can be freeing and a chance for you to bond with your loved ones that are still with you.

2. Talk to a Grief Counselor

I know counselors that specialize in grief who can give you so much insight, knowledge and advice that you may not have even considered, especially for dealing with the change in dynamics and traditions during the holiday season that your loss(es) may have caused.

3. Join a Support Group

Although this can sound cliche, there are many support groups like the one I run where you can just go and talk. Get your feelings out, cry your eyes out, talk about things you may not talk about with your family members to people that don’t hold biases or preconceived ideas of your situation. I have found this to be helpful for those dealing with grief at this time of year.

4. Move Forward

Life will never be the same without your loved one(s) here. But I have found creating new traditions and new memories with those around you can help you heal. We actually suggest this in the support groups that I run. I am starting to consider getting a new pet, not to replace my beloved terrier, but to help in my healing process and the realization that I still have a lot of love to give while I am here on this earth. I am also doing something special on my grandfather’s upcoming birthday that I think he would be ecstatic about and that brings me some peace during this difficult time.

Our lives are constantly changing and unfortunately, a part of this change is losing our loved ones. But we can stay strong, be there for each other and continue living life to the fullest like they would want us to.

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