The New Year is traditionally an occasion for celebration with parties and resolutions for the year ahead; a time for fresh starts. However, the festivities don’t always feel right when you’ve recently lost a loved one. Our advice on coping with the loss of a loved one during the new year could help.

Give yourself time to grieve

After losing a loved one, it’s common to experience a wide range of emotions. You may feel angry, sad, or even guilty about your feelings. But it is important that you allow yourself time to grieve your loss and work through these feelings at your own pace. Coping with grief is a process and cannot be sped up.

If you have been experiencing negative emotions such as anger or depression, try journaling or talking with someone close to you about what you are feeling. This can help make sense of your situation and provide some direction for moving forward in life. It’s also important not to rush through this process. You will always miss the loved one who passed away, but eventually, these thoughts will become less frequent and intense as time goes by.

Find support through community

While there is nothing that can undo the pain of losing a loved one, reaching out to others who have experienced similar losses can be helpful in coping with the loss of a loved one. Finding support groups in your local area or using online forums are great ways to find people who understand what you are going through and can help you through this difficult time.

If it’s not possible for you to attend face-to-face support groups, don’t worry. There are many resources available online for coping with loss. People from all over the world post messages on blogs, message boards, and social media sites when they’ve lost someone close to them. You may be surprised at how much comfort you receive from reading stories about other people’s experiences of grief or loss. There are also a number of organisations that provide direct bereavement support over the phone or online. 

Take time off New Year traditions

Coping with loss is a challenge at any time of year, let alone during a time of celebration, when memories and emotions are close to the surface. It’s okay to take time off holiday traditions if you feel like they’re too much at this point in your healing process. Certain things might not be possible for you right now and making a conscious decision about how to proceed with them can remove the pressure of carrying on as normal.

Friends and family should understand and respect your decision to dip out of certain social obligations during this time. After all, experiencing a deep loss is something that we learn to cope with in our own way, and ringing in the new year as though nothing has changed may not feel right to you. It’s completely reasonable to take some time for yourself and process your grief in your own way during the holiday season.

Whatever you do, make sure it brings you joy

There are many things that can help with coping with the loss of a loved one. Whatever you do, make sure it brings you joy. Doing things that help others, such as volunteering at an animal shelter or a soup kitchen, can make you feel like part of a community, which in turn can make you feel hopeful. Whatever brings joy into your life will help you get through this difficult period.

Celebrate by honouring your loved one

If you’re feeling a sense of loss, try to find ways to celebrate the new year while honouring your loved one. Consider what your loved one would have wanted you to do and find a way to reflect their wishes while still celebrating the new year. For example, if there’s a tradition you shared together, find a way of recreating it. 

If coping with grief means you can’t get into the holiday spirit, that’s okay. Take some time off from any activities that may be bringing up negative emotions or memories until they don’t feel quite so overwhelming anymore.

Find your own path

Remember that there are many ways to cope, and none of them are wrong. It’s all about finding something that works for your own personal needs. You can take time off from work or school if necessary or get support from others who have experienced loss.

For more support following the death of a loved one, there are many organisations that can help. Find out more about bereavement support.

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