For families in the Toronto area who have lost a loved one recently, we know the holidays are going to look and feel different. Our caring team at Affordable Burials and Cremations sees this every day as we meet with our neighbors to plan cremations and burials. This time of year comes with its own set of expectations. We anticipate the joy and festivities for 11 months.
We look forward to seeing loved ones, reconnecting with old friends, and enjoying beloved traditions. But after losing someone special, everything changes. We have the advice to share on practical ways to take care of yourself during a difficult time.
Set aside time for yourself. While some people will find themselves alone this holiday season, others will be with family – and may need time away to take a breather. Holiday gatherings are overwhelming, no matter the size, and taking a timeout is healthy. Meditate, take a bath, read a book by the fire, or do your favorite activity that helps you relax and recharge.
Talk to someone. Just as making time for yourself is essential, talking through your feelings with someone is also helpful. This time of the year is especially tough if you’ve recently suffered a loss and attended a funeral. It’s the perfect opportunity to start talking about it if you’ve been putting it off. It could mean talking to a close friend, a spiritual leader, a guidance counselor at school, or a professional. If you need help, you can also reach out to learn about our grief resources.
It’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling. Don’t blame yourself if you are feeling a bit down one day and happy the next. The holidays send us on emotional roller coasters, and there should be no guilt associated with your feelings. The best practice is to let yourself feel them. Don’t push them aside or ignore them – they’ll come back eventually and will be even harder to process.
Talk freely about your loss. If reminiscing about great memories with your loved one helps you process the loss, don’t let anyone stop you. If you feel hesitant doing this because you don’t want negative or upsetting emotions to arise in other family members, remember, it’s part of the healing process. They might even be thinking the same thing! Talk about your loved one whenever you want.
Set clear expectations. If you aren’t in the mood for holiday decorating, cooking a big family dinner, or wrapping presents, that’s okay. Be sure to set this expectation early enough to let everyone adjust. Instead, watch movies, order takeout, and share cherished memories of your loved one. You’ll get back to traditions when you’re ready and on your terms.
Remember, everyone grieves differently. Some people don’t show their grief, and they keep it to themselves. Others express their emotions outwardly and prefer to process their thoughts and feelings out loud. Either way, it doesn’t mean someone isn’t grieving just because you aren’t physically seeing it. Be kind and keep this in mind as you heal.
Be patient. It’s essential to be patient with yourself and with those grieving around you. Grief is often unpredictable, and it’s easy to become aggravated and wonder when they’ll “get over it.” Friends and family members are grieving a loss, and it’s critical to remain patient as they process their feelings in their ways.
Write down how you’re feeling. If you’re having a terrible day, jot down your thoughts, as this can help you feel lighter than before. Your feelings become a bit clearer and easier to process once you see them written down.
This holiday season, find the good you’re surrounded by and don’t feel guilty about experiencing a wide range of emotions. Know that our staff at Affordable Burials and Cremations is always here for all our neighbors in the Toronto area. Don’t hesitate to reach out anytime.