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How to cope with the first Christmas after someone you love has died

How to cope with the first Christmas after someone you love has died

Christmas is a very emotive time for most people and never more so than when you are bereaved.

If you are about to face your first Christmas having lost someone precious to you and you’re not quite sure how you are going to make it through, please let us offer you our very own 3 gifts from our complementary team for this festive season.

1. The gift of saying NO

This is one Christmas that you have absolute permission to do as you.  This is not the time to put yourself last in order to people-please. You are going to feel more tired than usual, less energetic and more prone to mood swings as well as potential physical symptoms such as insomnia, sickness, suppressed appetite and headaches, which are common when you are bereaved. It is important you are in an environment with people where you can go through these motions without the added pressure to ‘be on show.’

If saying ‘yes’ to someone else, actually means saying ‘no’ to yourself, then it’s time to switch that round.

2. The gift of TIME

Grief is a process with no rules or regulations and if you are newly bereaved it is likely to be a very unpredictable time. You may still even be in shock. It is important that you allow time for yourself, however that may look: a hot bath, a cup of tea with a friend in your bubble, a walk, a few pages of a good book. This also includes time-out. It is perfectly ok to want to have some time to yourself too, just be alone with your thoughts and emotions. When you begin to feel overwhelmed, just take one moment at a time and be fully present with how you are feeling. There is no need to forward project or worry about what tomorrow will bring. Try and slow things down by taking a few deep breaths and just notice what is happening. This intensity won’t last forever. Time truly does heal.

3. The gift of TEARS

It is so important to let your tears come and fall. There is no need to be choking them back because ‘this is meant to be a time merriment and good cheer’. Let Christmas form the backdrop and allow your grief to come to the forefront. This is bound to be a bittersweet occasion; so what if a few tears fall into the mince pies! They are testimony to how much you love them; how much you miss them  and that is not something to hide. We often hear: ‘but if I start crying I’ll never stop’. We gently reply, ‘but if you start crying, you will stop. You will begin to stop the pain’. Holding onto tears that long to fall take up an enormous amount of your energy that is a precious resource right now. Crying is one way you begin to clear the pain. And if it exhausts you, then rest… if you need to sleep, then sleep… and if you want to smile, you can smile too.

Honour your feelings. You do not have to sacrifice yourself just because it is Christmas. Gift yourself what you need and let everyone else take care of you.

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