Loss In The New Year
The holiday season is widely acknowledged as a time of potential struggle, especially for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Now that the new year has started, people have begun to focus on themselves and starting anew. While everyone is focused on their New Year’s resolutions, the new year might evoke more complicated emotions for those grieving a loss. Like other holidays and anniversaries, the new year marks the time without your loved one.
Helpful Tips During This Complicated Time:
1. Your feelings are valid! There are several theories designed to describe or guide an individual through loss. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross described 5 stages of grief; Psychologist J. William Worden identified a framework for grief with the 4 tasks of mourning. It’s important to remember that the process of grief is not necessarily linear or ending. People frequently bounce back and forth through different stages. Having strong difficult feelings at any time is normal. It can be helpful to validate your feelings, whatever they may be.
2. Get support. Your friends and family may not know that you need support at this time, or if they do, they may not know how to support you. Let others know how you are feeling and how they can help. Frequently, friends and family are just not enough. Talking to a therapist individually or in a group therapy or a support group can support you through the journey.
3. Take care of yourself physically. Our mind and body are connected. Eating as healthy as you can, getting more movement or exercise, and getting enough sleep will help you manage the difficult emotions with a little more ease.
4. Stay away from the negative. It can be easy to try to find comfort in alcohol or to look for support in unhealthy places. Remember that these numbing efforts cause more harm than good and will make the grief more difficult in the long run.
5. Find ways to remember and honor your loved ones, such as planting a garden or tree, listening to their favorite music, planning a trip, and going to places you enjoyed together. Write them a letter. There are many ways to remember and honor your loved ones. Maintaining your connection to them is important.
The new year has arrived, but your feelings of grief may remain. Finding ways to cope and continue on your grief journey is important. These tips won’t take away your feelings of loss, but they can help you.
Kelsey Bisson, LCSW – Psychotherapist