How Do I Help My Family and Friends (and Myself) During the Holidays?

Posted on December 08, 2014

             Holiday stress is upon us.  The stress may be magnified by depression, especially if this is the first holiday after the loss of a loved one.  There are hundreds of theories and suggestions of how to cope during this difficult time.  Some may work for you and some may not.  There are no concrete answers.  No rule book exists.  No two people grieve in the same way.  How do we figure out the best way to help those around us, and ourselves, as we live through a holiday season without a family member or a dear friend for the first time?

                Since there are so many considerations, it is easy to feel confused or overwhelmed as to what to do.  You may feel like you did a month after the funeral service.  The time where all of your friends and co-workers have gone back to their daily routines, but you are caught in the haze of what to do and where to turn.  You probably feel lonely in a room full of people.  You wonder if anyone else cares.

                Is there a solution?  Yes, there is.  Simply put, be there.  Be there, just as you were immediately after the funeral.  Did you make dinner for them?  Did they make dinner for you?  Did you do something as simple as sit down and talk with them?  When was the last time you merely hung out together?  When you are with family and close friends, usually you are able to sense what they need.  If not, then simply ask?  Better yet, suggest how you may be able to help, in ways they may not be able to see at that particular moment. 

                Reach out to them.  They are most likely scared and confused also.  Let them know you are thinking about them and hopefully, they are thinking about you.  If not, reaching out will bring these thoughts to the surface for them.  Take the initiative to be there for them and they will be there for you.  This will ease your burden and help to build your confidence during this part of the transition to a new normal.  Most likely, this will help to ease their burden, as well.

                When they reach out to you, your answer is yes.  If they ask for help, your answer is yes.  If they ask to go out to dinner, your answer is yes.  If they want to just have someone listen to them, your answer is yes.  Be there for them and they will be there for you.  Another way of saying this is continue to live.  Keep busy.  Stay involved and stay positive.

                If you have a friend, co-worker or relative who is going through the first holiday season without a loved one, be there.  Continue to reach out again and again if necessary.  Be there whether it is a big or a small gesture.  Be there.


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