The holiday season is a difficult time of year when there is a family member no longer there. Memories come back from the previous holidays and all the time spent together. Often this is the happiest time of year when everyone comes together and it can highlight the absence further. It is normal to feel more sorrowful than joyful. There can be other emotions that rise to the surface such as loneliness and grief. Here are some suggestions for the holidays.

1) Light a candle for your loved one
This is a very symbolic action and allows you to dedicate an area and time to your thoughts and memories. Take a moment to look at photos or play a song that reminds of them. Cherish all the wonderful times you hared and feel grateful that this was part of your life.

2) Don’t feel obliged
There can be a lot of pressure during the season so try not to become overwhelmed by feeling you have to attend every invitation. Give yourself time and rest but try to enjoy those around you who love you. It’s OK to feel annoyed or anxious or disinterested, all your feelings are normal and allow ourself to go through this. Remember to give yourself love and empathy.

3) Gifting
When you are out and see something your pet would have loved, instead of feeling sad that they are no longer there to enjoy it perhaps buy it and give it to an animal in need. The shelter has many pets who would enjoy the treat or a friend may have a pet you can share the joy with.

4) Take care of yourself
Talk to your family and friends and share your thoughts and feelings. Try to eat properly and get some fresh air and exercise.