As soon as November and December comes around, it is hard to ignore Christmas – it is everywhere: reminders are in the shop windows, Mariah Carey is on the radio, the Coca Cola advert is on the television…
Christmas and New Year is understandably a very difficult time of year for people who are grieving and spending it without a certain loved one, or loved ones. This time of year is often one of reflection, and a time in which families and or friends normally pool together. However, spending time with others and celebrating may be the last thing some people feel like doing when they are grieving. This is completely understandable. It is ok not to celebrate.
Some people choose to defy tradition and ignore Christmas altogether. This can be very hard to do as we so often feel obliged to please others and spend time in a way they think best for us. And sometimes we are left with little choice about how to spend the Christmas period if we are putting others’ before ourselves. If we spend time doing things others want us to do it can make us feel even more isolated and distressed.
Most people who are grieving are aware that this period of time can be particularly emotional, yet we so rarely put ourselves first and do what we know will be better for us. If that is the case, we encourage you to think of the smallest way you can look out for yourself during this time. It may be worth thinking about something you can do that’s just for you, whether that be ignoring Christmas all together, going for a walk by yourself, visiting a loved one’s grave or special place, raising a glass to them, or something else.
There is no right or wrong way to spend your time at Christmas – you can only do what feels right for you.
If you are reading this article and not bereaved – is there someone you can send a message of support to?
We hope that the upcoming Christmas and New Year period is whatever you need it to be. We encourage you to look after yourself as best you can.
We are thinking of you.
Dr Erin Thompson