SAN ANTONIO – The holidays can be some of the most difficult times for families who have lost loved ones.
A sense of grief and loss is often stirred afresh during the holidays when family traditions are widely celebrated.
"All of our behaviors have a meaning behind them, they are kind of a language in themselves," said Tim Cranfill, director of pastoral care, Northeast Baptist Hospital.
If you find yourself in a difficult place, Baptist Health System has 21 tips for individuals coping with loss during the holidays.
21 tips for surviving loss during the holidays
1. Acknowledge that the holidays will be different and they will be tough.
2. Decide which traditions you want to keep.
3. Decide which traditions you want to change.
4. Create a new tradition in memory of your loved ones.
5. Decide where you want to spend the holidays -- you may want to switch the location.
6. Make a "memory stocking," "memory box" or another special place for your loved one.
7. Have family members, friends and children write out memories for a memory stocking/box and read/share them out loud together.
8. Don't feel guilty about skipping events if you're experiencing holiday overload.
9. Allow yourself to grieve.
10. Pull out photo albums and spend time on the holiday looking at photos.
11. Remember that crying is ok.
12. Let go of any "should" for the holidays.
13. Make some quiet time for yourself -- we all need to get away.
14. Disengagement is ok in small amounts.
15. Be mindful of food and alcohol intake.
16. Splurge on a gift for yourself!
17. Ask for help -- say yes to help.
18. Practice self-care -- you are worth it.
19. Talk to someone. A talk with a therapist, counselor, trusted friend or clergy person may be what you need.
20. Skip the holiday -- if it's too hard, it's ok to either simplify or skip the holiday this year.
21. Remember, it's ok to be happy -- happiness during this time does not diminish the love you had for the one you lost.
For more information, visit baptisthealthsystem.com or call 210-297-7000.
Information courtesy of Baptist Health System.