Monday, December 19, 2016

Tips on Coping with Grief During the Holidays

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Grief is always hard.

It’s a process that is not always linear. It hits hard and subsides, confronts, and then hides. The holidays can often trigger grief in a harsh way. You may be struggling with thoughts like, "Who will put the star on the tree this year now that Dad is gone?" You may also wonder whether anyone feels like you do or not feel motivated to participate in any holiday activities. This is normal! 

Rio Salado College Counselor Autumn Cardenez has put together some tips on how to deal with grief during the holidays.

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Here are four tips on dealing with grief during the holidays:

1. Give back to others: It can be very comforting to help others who are struggling. Serve at a homeless shelter, provide a meal for a family, or buy a gift for a child in need.

2. Reach out to loved ones for support: It’s easy to slip into “leave me alone” mode, but it can be harmful to your mental health. Surround yourself with people who love and support you. Sing nostalgic songs, reminisce over memories and look back at pictures. This can bring many tears but it will also help you to relieve your sadness.

3. Be mindful of your health and well-being: Do the form of physical activity that you enjoy the most whether it is yoga, running, or strength training. A good sweat can release endorphins and boost your mood. Try to avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol abuse, emotional eating, or other harmful self-medicating activities.

4. Create a new tradition: Family traditions can be sentimental, however, it can be fun to create a tradition of your own, such as a holiday themed craft or adding a new recipe to the holiday spread.

The takeaway is to remember that grieving is a process. Feeling sad during the holidays is normal. Allow those feelings to manifest, stare at them in the face, and address them.

If you are personally being affected by grief this holiday season, we are here to help. Reach out to Rio Salado Counseling to find the resources that you need.

Contributed by Rio Salado Counselor Autumn Cardenez on behalf of Rio Salado Counseling, helping students with their personal, educational and career goals.

#Holidays #HolidaySeason #Counseling #MentalHealth