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How to cope with grief at Christmas

When you’re grieving, the thought of celebrating Christmas can be really challenging. It’s important to look after yourself and work out the best ways to cope throughout the season.

Here are some ideas of how you could cope better this Christmas:

1) Reduce the pressure

There is always pressure around Christmas. Shopping, gift wrapping, writing Christmas cards, parties – these tasks all add stress to the Christmas period. When we are grieving, we may find we just do not have the energy. We should ask ourselves “How much an I able to do?” and more importantly “What do I want to do?”. This year it is important to think about what you want. Plan ahead to decided what is really important. Make lists of things you are going to do. Spend time thinking about how you will spend Christmas in a meaningful way this year in your unique situation. Include the rest of the family and children in this decision.

2) Shop early

If gifts are a priority for you. Try shopping early to avoid the crowds, Christmas music and the “Merry Christmas” greetings which can be difficult. Shop on “good days” and take a friend with you. Make a special day of it by including a nice lunch and chat.

3) Consider different ways of celebrating

You might find keeping to your “normal” Christmas traditions is the best way to support your family and pay tribute to the person who died. You may not feel the need to celebrate Christmas at all this year. However you feel, it’s important to do what’s right for you and try not to feel pressured into doing anything you’re not comfortable with.

4) Find ways to remember them

This can be as simple as ‘speaking’ to the person, silently or out loud, talking about them during the Christmas period. You could perhaps visit their grave, or a place that was special to them to lay flowers or a Christmas wreath. These things can be done alone or with friends or family.

5) Try to maintain a routine.

The Christmas period may disrupt your normal routine, and this can make it harder to look after yourself. Keeping regular patterns of sleeping and eating where possible can make a difference. Seeing friends and family, or volunteering for the day, are all small things that can help.

6) Take a break from Christmas films and TV

It can be tough when you are surrounded by happy images of families celebrating. If it is getting too much, consider taking a break from TV and social media and getting some fresh air instead.

If you would like further information, support and guidance, the following links may be helpful:

Cruse Bereavement Support -



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