Healthy Holidays: When Dealing with the Loss of a Loved One or Sick Family Member

The holidays can be full of joy and anticipation, and in fact this is often our culture’s expectation. Yet when we’ve lost a loved one or a loved one is sick the holidays may instead become a time of sorrow and stress. All too often, caregivers begin neglecting their own health when caring for the health of others. This is why it is extremely important for caregivers to figure out what they need to maintain their own health and well-being while serving in this role, such as physical activity or quiet ‘me’ time each day.

Caring for ourselves is vital while going through grief, yet often hard to do. Grief is hard on who we are in a variety of ways, and it’s important to take the time to reflect on how you’re feeling and ask yourself what you need:

  • Physically
  • Emotionally
  • Spiritually
  • Mentally
  • Socially

It’s normal to miss someone you’ve lost, especially during the holidays. It may take time before this season feels as joyful as it used to, so give yourself the time and space to be okay.

Being aware of the change that grief brings and also doing things with intention can be a part of our healing process while we are grieving, especially during the holidays. This holiday may look different than holidays in the past, but it doesn’t mean the season will never go back to what seems normal. Allow yourself the time to grieve and approach this year’s festivities at your own pace. Prioritize what you feel you can and want to do during the holidays. Do things that bring you joy and laughter, and remember good times with your loved ones.

Spokesperson Background:
Patricia Wright is the lead chaplain and manager of the Department for Spiritual Care at Cone Health’s Annie Penn Hospital in Reidsville.