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By Emily ThompsonU of A System Division of Agriculture
Download MS Word version
LITTLE ROCK— The holiday season is supposed to be a joyous one, but it can often feel
just the opposite for those who have recently experienced the loss of a loved one.
“Holidays can magnify feelings of grief and loss,” said Brittney Schrick, University
of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture extension family life specialist. “There’s
no right or wrong way to grieve. Be patient with yourself or those around you who
are grieving a loss.”
Schrick gives some advice below on how to deal with grief during the holiday season.
Tell people what you need.“People want to help, but they may be doing just the opposite,” Schrick said. “Maybe
you have a freezer full of food, so you don’t need another casserole, but you could
use some help around the house or a visitor to keep you company.” Schrick also advises
to look for ways to keep in touch with friends and family that aren’t overwhelming
to you, like texting, FaceTime or Skype or short visits.
Allow yourself to feel.“You may be tempted to put on a brave face for those around you, and there may be
times when that is appropriate; however, if you’re feeling sad, that’s OK,” Schrick
said. “Allow yourself to feel upset or sad or whatever you feel.” Grief can show up
in different ways depending on the person. Children are prone to display their feelings
in ways that seem strange to adults and some may show grief through anger, frustration
or very little emotion at all. “There’s no correct way to experience or show grief,”
Set boundaries. You may feel obligated to attend holiday parties, but don’t feel up to it. Schrick
suggests coming up with a Plan A and a Plan B for the event. “If you are invited to
a party you want to go to, plan to go, but allow yourself to change your mind if you
don’t feel up to it on the day,” Schrick said. “Anyone who loves you will understand
if you need to change your plans.” Schrick also said it might be worth going to the
event even if you don’t feel like it in the beginning. “Give yourself permission to
leave early if you feel overwhelmed,” Schrick said.
Reach out for help. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression such as a down mood that won’t go
away, lack of interest in activities you used to enjoy, fatigue or lack of energy,
changes in sleep or appetite, difficulty thinking or making decisions, or an increase
in physical symptoms with no apparent medical reason, contact your doctor or local
hospital. “Especially if you have thoughts of suicide, contact a medical professional
or reach out to a trusted friend or family member for help,” Schrick said. “Pay special
attention to children who are grieving because depression symptoms may be different
for children and include stomach aches, anxiety, and headaches.”
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen
agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption
of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative
Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work
within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas
System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex,
gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital
or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and
is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
Media Contact: Mary HightowerDir. of Communication ServicesU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) email@example.com