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Ways to Help a Grieving Friend During the Holidays

If a friend or a loved one lost someone close this year, the holidays can be a daunting time to face. If they are used to spending time with the deceased person during the celebrations, the change in tradition and routine can stir up emotions and make it difficult to to get through the season. You may notice your friend may exhibit emotions typical of grief: emptiness, depression, isolation, anger, and guilt-- just to name a few. If you wish to help your friend get through this difficult time in a healthy manner, you may find it useful to stay active and participate in the many fun opportunities the holidays present.

Throw a Tacky Holiday Sweater Party
This twist on the usual holiday festivities has become increasingly popularover the past decade or so-- and for good reason! People love the novelty of finding the ugliest, craziest holiday sweaters out there and seeing what friends and family come up with as well. Have your friend lend a hand in the preparations to keep their minds busy, but don’t put too much pressure on them. These parties are supposed to be lighthearted and fun, after all.

Prepare fun holiday food and drinks such as fondue, cookies, mulled wine, and eggnog. Play classic holiday tunes and string up some lights indoors to set the mood. Searching for a sweater and planning for the party will give you days of occupation where you can be there for your friend.

Tour Holiday Decorations In Your Town
Chances are, there is a house-- or even a street-- famous in your community for its over-the-top holiday decorations. Set aside a night with your friend to take a stroll and really appreciate all the work your neighbors put into their lights and lawn ornaments. Bring along a thermos of hot cocoa or cider to really get you in the spirit. Bundle up and enjoy the crisp winter air along with the endorphins you will gain from the light exercise of walking around.

Enjoy Winter Sports &The Great Outdoors
The days are shorter this time of year, so make the most of the daylight you have by grabbing your friend for an afternoon of their favorite winter sport. Ice skating, hockey, snowshoeing, sledding, and skiing are all great ways to get the blood pumping and stay active. Plus, being active during the day helps increase sun exposure, which raises vitamin D levels in the body. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.), an ailment that can be even worst with combined with grief.

Let’s Go To The Movies!
December is one of the best months for movies. Ticket sales increase while people have time off, so studios love to release big blockbusters. Plus, the end of the year is the cutoff for many of Hollywood’s biggest awards, so it’s a good time for indie darlings as well. Take advantage of Tinseltown and bring your friend to the movies. The theater is warm, the popcorn is buttery, and the movies are a great way to get lost in another world for a couple of hours.


Grieving is difficult at any time, but during the holidays people particularly feel it. Normally Christmas, Hanukkah, and the like are times spent with family and close friends, so if you know someone who has lost the past year that shock that comes from the change of tradition can leave them feeling lost and empty. A great way to help them is to be active in their lives and try and show them a good time. Whether it’s something silly like a tacky holiday sweater party, something active like winter sports, or something simple like an afternoon at the movies, your friend will appreciate you and the effort you put into easing this challenging season.


Jennifer McGregor

Jennifer McGregor is a pre-med student, who loves providing reliable health and medical resources for PublicHealthLibrary.org users. She knows how difficult it can be to sift through the mountains of health-related information on the web. She co-created the site with a friend as a way to push reputable information on health topics to the forefront, making them easier and quicker to find.


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