On December 16th, 2018, my life changed forever. My mother called me to tell me that my aunt, her only sister, had suddenly passed away. In that moment, my whole world came tumbling down before my eyes; I was grieving my loss. My aunt was more than just my aunt; she was my godmother, too. And to make matters worse, it was a week-and-a-half before Christmas.
Logically, I knew I was grieving. But even though I knew that I had the right coping skills, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I was hurting. It had sunk in that my aunt was gone. She was no longer a phone call away, and I could no longer hop on a plane to travel to Michigan to see her. Being states away from her home didn’t help the grieving process, either. My heart was broken, but I had to learn how to live my life without my aunt.
Grieving can be a difficult process, but when you add the holidays into the mix, dealing with grief becomes even more difficult. If you are grieving this holiday season, I feel your pain and stand with you. Here are 4 tips to help you cope with your grief over the holidays:
Be patient with yourself.
If you are dealing with the loss of a friend or family member, especially if you were close to them or loved them a lot, take all the time you need to process their passing and to cope with your feelings.
Drink plenty of water.
Hydrating yourself is always important, but proper hydration becomes especially crucial if you’ve been crying more often than usual. Frequent crying can cause headaches, but drinking plenty of water can help you prevent dehydration symptoms.
Feel all of your feelings.
Don’t bottle up your emotions – feel them! When you acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself to express them, you grieve in a healthy manner. While you can’t change your loss or your grief, you can recognize that it’s OK not to be OK.
Reach out to a loved one.
Asking for help and support is especially important when you’re grieving. Find a group of people who’ve experienced loss or talk with a trusted loved one when you’re struggling to process your loss. Let your family and friends know exactly how they can help you, whether it’s watching a new movie with you, giving advice, or simply listening to you. When you’re grieving, the right words and actions will stay with you for a lifetime.
If you’re grieving this year, whether the loss fresh or if, like me, this has been a year of firsts without a loved one, know that I am with you. Don’t be ashamed to feel your feelings. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need the help. Take care of yourself. Grief is difficult, but when you know how to cope, you’ll begin to heal.