The holidays are quickly approaching, are you ready? Is the shopping done? Have arrangements been made for your visitors? Is your house ready to go and looking nice? Are the dinners planned? How’s your mental health???

For some of us, the holidays can be really tough not just because we are trying to deal with crazy Aunt Judy and her disapproval of our life choices, but because we are still mourning the loss of one of our dear friends or family. If you are dealing with the loss of a loved one and how to face the holidays without them, try out the following tips from “How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies” by: Therese A. Rando.

1. You cannot skip the holidays. Face them squarely and make plans with your family.

2. Make plans for this holiday. Don’t look forward to all the holidays to come. There is nothing you do that can’t be changed next year.

3. Think about doing something symbolic to honor your memory of your loved one during the holiday. Whether it is beginning a new tradition or carrying on an old one, make your loved one a part of your celebration.

4. There are always unrealistic expectations during the holidays. Don’t let yourself get caught up in these. Accept what is normal for you.

5. Take care of yourself! Holidays usually mean extra fatigue, partying, visiting. Don’t let yourself get bogged down in the holiday pressures.

6. Remember that you are grieving. You will feel joy, pain, and bittersweet memories. Let them come.

7. Plan ahead. Make lists, Take advantage of your good days.

8. Let yourself cry when you need to. Doing so will not ruin the holiday for yourself or for others. Do what comes naturally for you. Holding in your emotions can be destructive.

9. It may be helpful to set limits. Let others know what you need and how they can best help you. Don’t be forced into doing something because someone else thinks you should.

10. Give yourself permission to have joyful times as well as mournful times. They are normal, not a betrayal or source of guilt.

11. Discuss your holiday plans with your family. Decide what traditions to keep, what to change, what to discard. Make your goals small. Don’t over commit yourself. Take it slow and easy.

12. Go over your plans. Why are you doing them? For you or for someone else?

13. Do some kind service for someone else. Even though you are feeling sad because of your loved one’s death, reaching out to others can often bring you a certain holiday fulfillment.

I hope you find those suggestions helpful. If there is more you would like to talk about, please call to schedule an appointment and let’s get you really prepared to face the holidays this year.