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Navigating Grief During the Holidays

Blog post written by,

By Bhritanie Jardine, PsyD

The holiday season can be a challenging time for those experiencing grief. Amidst the festive decorations and joyful gatherings, the absence of a loved one can intensify feelings of sadness and loneliness. The juxtaposition often leads to beliefs about what one should be doing or feeling, or even what they think they should not be doing or feeling. Here are some tips to help you navigate the holidays while grieving:

  1. Allow Yourself to Feel: Often individuals who have experienced a loss going into a holiday season notice feeling guilty having any emotions outside of sadness or anger. It's important to remind yourself that it is okay and normal to feel a range of emotions during the holidays. Giving yourself permission to experience sadness, anger, moments of joy and everything in between can be a crucial step in the healing process.

  2. Create New Traditions or Modify Existing Ones: Many families develop traditions that they look forward to and adhere to during the holiday times, which can highlight the loss of someone who played a crucial role in that tradition. Consider creating new traditions that honor your loved one's memory or modify existing ones to make them more manageable for you. This can help you maintain a connection to the past while adapting to the loss.

  3. Focus on Meaningful Activities: Engage in activities that hold personal meaning and are in line with your values. Whether it's volunteering or spending quality time with loved ones, finding purpose in your actions can bring a sense of fulfillment and connection. Finding meaning during the holidays doesn't diminish the pain of loss, but it can help create a more balanced and purposeful experience. Embrace the journey of discovering new ways to navigate this season while honoring your grief.

  4. Seek Social Support: Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, family, or a grief support group. Talking about your feelings can lessen the pain, and sharing memories of your loved one may bring comfort. If you start to feel overwhelmed at a holiday social event, pulling a loved one to the side and communicating your needs may bring you understanding and support to get you through that hard moment.

Know that if you are dreading the holiday season due to a recent loss, you are no alone in that struggle. Everyone’s grief journey is as unique as their fingerprint, so here is no "right" way to grieve during the holidays. Instead, try to yourself the gift of self-compassion during this challenging time.


Dr. Bhritanie Jardine, Psy.D.



Eating Disorders, Grief and Loss and Trauma Expert

For more information about my services, please call me directly at 561-704-9099 or you can email me at I'd be happy to provide more details and a FREE phone consultation. You can also visit my website at


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