The holiday season is often a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness. However, for those who are facing grief or loss or are caring for a loved one in hospice, it can be an emotionally difficult period. Holiday depression, often exacerbated by the festivities around, can cast a shadow over what should be a time of warmth and connection.
Understanding holiday depression
For people experiencing holiday grief due to a loss or are expecting the loss of a loved one, this season can trigger drastic emotions. It is common to compare your situation to others, which often leads to increased feelings of loneliness and sadness. That’s why it is essential to acknowledge these emotions and give yourself permission to feel what you are feeling.
One approach for managing holiday depression is to set realistic expectations for the season. Recognize that your circumstances have changed, and traditions will need to adapt as well. Do not pressure yourself to uphold past holiday habits if they no longer feel authentic. Instead, focus on creating new rituals that honor your loved one’s remembrance while respecting your current emotional state.
The loss of a loved one during the holidays can be challenging. Sharing stories and memories of them with the rest of your family can provide an opportunity to celebrate their life. Consider lighting a candle or setting a place at the table in their memory. Finding ways to incorporate your loved one’s presence into your celebrations can provide a sense of connection even in their absence.
Remember, you don’t have to go through all of this alone. Contact a support group, therapist, faith community, or friends who understand your situation. Connecting with others who are familiar with similar feelings can give you comfort and validation. They can offer guidance and support as you pass the holiday season with grace and resilience. Hospice provides bereavement services to families 13 months after the loss of a family member.
It is crucial to take care of yourself, especially when caring for a loved one in hospice or dealing with grief. Self-care might involve regular exercise, relaxation techniques, or indulging in your favorite hobbies. Always prioritize your well-being, and remember that it is okay to say no to overwhelming commitments.
Holiday stress and mental health
Holiday stress can deepen when caregivers and family members face extreme situations, especially during the holidays. It is okay to feel tired or overwhelmed, so please do not hesitate to delegate tasks and seek assistance in your caregiving responsibilities. It’s essential to recognize your limits and ask for help when needed to maintain your mental health.
At Ascend Hospice Care, we acknowledge that it is okay to adapt and create meaningful traditions and seek the help and support you need during this delicate time of year. So please call us if you need assistance or wish to discuss your options. You are not alone.