For most, Christmas is a beautiful time of year to be shared with loved ones, but for someone who has experienced a loss by suicide, it can be an extremely difficult season. Here are some strategies for surviving the holidays after losing a loved one to suicide.
- Accept any limitations you may have this season. Finances, health, loss of loved one – these life changing events can and will impact how you celebrate this season. If you can’t do everything that you typically do at Christmas time, it’s okay. Stop saying “I should” and ask yourself “Do I want to do this? Do I need to do this?” Allow yourself to be on a stress reduction diet throughout the holidays.
- Expand your Christmas celebrations to more than just December 24th and 25th. If you can’t fit in all your commitments, make Christmas a “season”. This way you won’t feel as pressured to fit everything in such a short period of time. This gives you some flexibility, and will reduce some of the stress and pressures that the holiday season can bring.
- It’s okay to say no. If you are surviving the loss of a loved one this Christmas, remember it’s okay to say “no” to certain parties or events this year. Those who love you will understand. Honour your grief, and treat yourself kindly this season.
- Plan to be with people whose company you enjoy. Life can be short, so live it fully and completely with those whom you love.
- Don’t overspend your resources. It is more important to spend time with someone than money on someone.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out for support. CMHA Calgary offers a Suicide Bereavement support program with services including one-on-one counselling, peer support, and group sessions to help you and your family navigate through not only the holidays, but also everyday life after your loss.