For a lot of folks, this is the most wonderful time of the year. It's filled with holiday displays, joy and music.
Most of us see the holidays as a fun time where one is really nice and friendly and there are lights out. But for others, this time of year can be painful.
Many people have either lost someone close to us due to COVID-19 or lost someone a few years ago due to an unrelated reason, and so we're dealing with grief.
Grief that may be felt harder this year than last.
Last year people weren't gathering in big social groups. So for those grieving, it made it easier for to bow out, right? Or just not do anything.
But this year, many holiday celebrations are back in full swing, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports there are now over 790,000 people in the US who've died from COVID-19. Those people will be missed this year. Now that there's more social engagement, there's that social expectation that you're going to participate, may not be possible for those who are grieving.
Be honest with yourself about how you really feel versus how you think people think you should feel. For those who are grieving, do not feel like you have to be involved in everything, but at the same time do not completely isolate.
Do not feel the need to isolate because you don't want to bum anybody else out or because you feel like you have nothing positive and happy to contribute. If you're just isolating, you have no corrective experience.
Anyone struggling with grief, try to pick and choose what holiday events to attend, leave if overwhelmed, an d find ways to honor your lost loved one.
If you or a loved one are facing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, there is help readily available. You can call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or chat with them online at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
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