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How To Handle Grief At Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time of year, full of joy, giving and love. But for many people, it's also the hardest time of year. The time when they remember the pain of a loved one lost, and that empty space at the dinner table hits a little harder. Even for those whose loved ones are currently battling cancer, or who are dealing with the disease themselves, Christmas can be a time of overwhelming grief and even fear.

And that’s okay.

You are allowed to feel that way. Our hearts and thoughts go out to everybody who does. Making space for that grief is difficult, so we wanted to share a few tips to help you remember fondly this year, and embrace those feelings.

Talk About It!

We Brits can be very reluctant to talk about our feelings, especially the painful ones. But expressing grief can be a really powerful healing tool, especially when you have loved ones around you who can share that grief and offer support. So be open with your emotions, share memories, and encourage others to do the same thing. It's much more healing than you would expect.

Have A Tangible Reminder

Sometimes having a tangible reminder of the person you've lost can make a huge difference in how you feel. it openly acknowledges your loss and can give comfort, like they are still there in some form. You might have an idea of what that looks like for you already, but here are a few ideas:

  • A specific decoration of something they loved

  • Engraved baubles, snow globes or other decorations.

  • Making a dish using their recipe.

  • Setting a place at the table for them.

  • Lighting a candle during Christmas dinner.

  • Playing their favourite song.

These are all very different ways of creating a tangible thing to remember your loved ones and honour them at Christmas can help bring some of the joy back to the holiday.

Make Space In Nature

Winter in Britain might be cold and wet most of the time, but it's most definitely alive. There are some huge benefits to spending time in nature, from reducing stress and boosting feel-good hormones to creating space to just exist in the present moment. Take time to really notice the world around you, and take comfort in the signs that your loved ones are watching. White feathers are often seen as a symbol from above, and then there's the old adage that 'robins appear when loved ones are near! Whether it’s a stroll on the beach, a family walk in the woods or just spending some time sitting out in the garden, nature can be a very healing place.

Surround Yourself With Support

Grief, whether it's old, new or pre-emptive, can be difficult enough without trying to do it all alone. Grief has a way of making us feel isolated, so make sure you know where you can find support and community during this time. That could be friends, family, or even more structured support groups. There are telephone hotlines for bereavement counselling that can be useful during the festive period, especially if you have cancer and worry that this may be your last Christmas. night the urge to cut yourself off from the world, and instead focus on getting the support you need.

Above all, allow yourself to feel your feelings and express them freely. Remember that it's okay to feel multiple things at once, and it is possible to be grieving and still experience moments of joy. It's okay to let a little Christmas spirit in no matter what other feelings you’re having. And while that might bring up some challenges of its own /like feelings of guilt or heightened grief), it's a good reminder that life is beautiful and painful at the same time.

From all of us at Jill's Fundraising Journey, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, however you celebrate.


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