Remaining Present While Grieving: A guide to the holiday season

Navigating grief is hard at the best of times, but when a holiday is thrown into the mix it can become even trickier.
Remaining Present While Grieving: A guide to the holiday season

If you’re finding yourself in the midst of grieving a loved one, an impending holiday can make things even harder. Even if the death didn’t occur recently, the arrival of a holiday, and the festivities that come with it, can make you feel as though you’re grieving your loved one all over again.

You can still grieve and remain present, though.

With Christmas nearly upon us, you might be in search of some tips. We’re here to help with a bunch of handy ideas that’ll not only help you get through the holiday, but ensure you can somewhat enjoy it, too.

Plan for down time

Whether you’re hosting people at your house or attending someone else’s Christmas celebrations, don’t expect to remain ‘on’ the entire time. The best way to be present and involved is to plan to take breaks throughout. This will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed, particularly if the death was recent, or if it’s your first holiday without your loved one. Anybody you’re celebrating with will understand your need to step out, and they’ll love that it allows you to remain engaged and present when you are in the room.

Plan where you’ll take breaks beforehand, or chat to the host to find out if there’s a room they can delegate for you to step out to when needed. 

Talk about your loved one 

It might be tempting to pretend your loved one didn’t exist or that they haven’t passed (it’s sometimes easier not to confront the truth, right?), but this is unlikely to help you remain more present. Chances are, the people you’re celebrating the holiday with will also be missing the deceased. There are a myriad of ways you can support one another and remain present, together.

You might like to dedicate a particular time to sharing stories and memories of the person who died, or you might like to keep it casual and just encourage people to share throughout the day. While it can definitely be sad and hard to think about these memories, it will absolutely help you remain present. Talking about the person who has died is also a helpful way to keep moving forward with your grief.

Make a plan to honour the deceased

The idea of doing something in your loved one’s memory has probably crossed your mind – whether that’s with a memorial service, private donation or a fundraising event. There are plenty of ways to honour the person who has died and this might be the perfect time to make a plan for that.

If you’re going to be surrounded by family and friends this Christmas, a great way to stay present could be to have a group brainstorm session for how you’d like to honour the deceased. Now is the time to come up with a tangible plan and put that plan into action to best manage your collective grief, and to remind each other that you’re all in this together.

Don’t avoid your grief

If you find yourself tuning out of the festivities this year, don’t force it. There will come certain times over Christmas where you simply need a breather. Ignoring the need to grieve will not help you become more present, so if you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, allow yourself to grieve. Doing this will only help you become more present the rest of time, and allow you to move through your grief a lot quicker.

Be there when you can, and step out and allow yourself to feel all the feels when you need to.

Preplanning your funerals is a simple but effective way of minimising the stress on those you leave behind, enabling them to focus on moving forward through their grief. Contact the team at Willed on 1300 945 533 for an obligation free quote.

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