Coping with Grief and Depression Over the Holidays


For many folks, the holidays are a time of joy and celebration. For others, however, it can be a time of great sadness, loss and stress. Below are a few suggestions on how to make it through.

  • Make time to take care of yourself: Start with the basics. Make sure you are eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising, and doing other activities- or self-care practices- that help to nourish you.
  • Begin traditions and rituals to honor loved ones who have passed away: This could mean preparing favorite meals in honor of those who have passed away, playing music that they enjoyed, or hanging their favorite ornament on the Christmas tree.
  • Carve out time and space to acknowledge and honor your feelings and emotions.
  • Help others: Caring for others helps improve their lives, but also gives us the gift of making someone’s day better and brighter.
  • Consciously spend time with people and engage in activities that are beneficial and encouraging.
  • Limit time spent with people and activities that are draining.
  • Treat yourself: Splurge for a nice massage- or maybe tickets to a sports game or concert- to brighten your day. Or, perhaps buy yourself that sweater you have been eyeing in the storefront window all season long.
  • Don’t go it alone: Many grief & loss organizations recognize the difficulties that the holidays hold for those of us who have lost loved ones. Participating in these groups and activities can serve as an important reminder that we are not alone in our grief and struggles. It also gives us the opportunity to support others who are grieving as well.
  • Let go of the “shoulds”: Holiday traditions can look and feel very different. Try to let go of expectations about how the holiday should feel and instead give yourself the permission and flexibility to create holiday traditions that are right for you.


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