Five Coping Skills To Help Grievers Get Through The Holidays

The holidays can be a particularly challenging time for those of us coping with loss. In this article, I share five skills that helped me cope when my son was diagnosed with a chronic illness.

1. Schedule a Specific Time to Cry

If the onset of your trauma and/or loss is still fresh you may be like me, out of my mind in pain and crying non-stop. I decided that I needed to give myself a coping skill and that was to schedule a crying time for every day.

I would become overwhelmed with thoughts of what had happened and I could feel the crying coming on and then Id stop myself. Id say, No, you have to wait 4 more hours and then you can let it go. That would move my brain forward enough to get over that crying session for at least 10-15 minutes.

2. Do One Nice Thing For Yourself Every Day No Kidding and No Excuses!

I would NOT get out of bed until I thought long and hard about the one thing that would make me feel better for just that one day.

Nothing can make me feel better was the answer that was always there but Id push myself to pull out just one thing. Most of the things were extremely simple: taking a long bath, making a caf mocha with extra whipped crme, or taking the dog to the dog park.

3. Seek Out and Attend a Local Support Group

I went online and entered the cause of my grief (i.e. brain disease, death, cancer, etc.) and looked for a link (URL) that ended in .org since this generally means its a non-profit and most non-profits are really set up to help. Do yourself a huge favor and find and attend a support group, even if its just for one time only. You can visit my web page ( ) and click on Grief Resources.

4. Find Three Things to be Grateful for Each Day

As I was grieving it was hard for me to imagine that I would ever be happy again, I just could not see it. It occurred to me that I needed to find something to be grateful for every day. I started with, Im so grateful my son is still alive. Im so grateful I was here and can be here to take care of him. Start small with, Im so grateful the heat is working and my house is
warm. Im so grateful that I can make myself some tea this morning.

5. Make Sure You Get a Good Nights Sleep

Grief is extremely stressful and it takes a lot out of us not only emotionally, but physically as well. I had a real issue where I could not sleep. But I knew that getting 6-8 hours of sleep would go a long way in helping me cope and get through the journey. See your doctor or a psychologist for help if you find you cant and havent been sleeping.

It is my sincerest wish that these coping skills that Ive shared coupled with Mourning Expressions makes your journey measurably more bearable.