How to cope with grief during the holidays

Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 1:27 PM CST
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(CNN) - It is called the most wonderful time of the year, but for many who are grieving the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be hard.

Therapist Jody Baumstein with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Strong4Life says grief is different for everyone.

”You can’t exactly know what to expect, just know you might feel differently moment to moment or day to day, and that’s completely normal,” she said.

Allow yourself and your family to feel any emotion whether it is sadness or even happiness.

”Allowing yourself to laugh and experience joy is actually going to make you feel more connected and more hopeful,” she said.

Baumstein says you have control over your choices, so if you don’t want to go to a holiday event or keep up with old traditions, you don’t have to.

”You don’t have to do anything that causes you more pain and suffering,” she said.

She also says that finding ways to honor and remember your loved one is an important part of the healing process.

”It can be anything from looking at videos and pictures of a loved one, to making their favorite meal or listening to songs that remind you of them,” Baumstein said.

If the holidays become too hard, it is important to get help.

”We often think that asking for help is a sign of weakness, but really it takes a ton of courage, strength and vulnerability to ask for help,” Baumstein said.

Other ideas to honor a loved one include volunteering at an organization they cared about, planting a tree in their honor or something as simple as lighting a candle for them.

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