For the Newly Bereaved: Getting Through the First Holiday Without a Loved One

First holiday following a loss

For the Newly Bereaved: Getting Through the First Holiday Without a Loved One

The first holiday season after losing a loved one can be an especially difficult time.  The holidays are a difficult time for those who have lost a loved one. The memories of past holidays, laughter and good times, can be painfully bittersweet. But you don’t have to go through the holidays alone. There are many things you can do to make the season more bearable – and even enjoyable.


The holidays can also be a time when feelings of loneliness and isolation are especially acute.  You may feel like you are unable to cope with all the festivities and the emotions they stir up. If you’re struggling to get through this season, here are some tips to help you cope.

  1. Reach out to your support network.

Your friends and family are a valuable source of support during this time. Talk to them about your feelings and how you’re coping. Lean on them for emotional support, and allow them to help you celebrate the holiday season in whatever way they can.

  1. Give yourself time and space to grieve.

The first step is to give yourself permission to grieve. grieving is a natural and necessary process, and it will take time. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, so allow yourself to mourn in your own way and at your own pace.  This may mean taking some time off from work, avoiding social engagements, or spending time alone in nature. Don’t feel guilty about taking care of yourself – grief is a process that takes time.

  1. Don’t try to do everything yourself. 

It is important to be able to ask for help with holiday preparations, as it can be overwhelming to complete tasks and activities as you had the year before.  It is okay to accept any offers of assistance and to remind yourself that you deserve this support and do not need to go at it all alone.

  1. Attend to your basic needs.

Take care of yourself physically. Eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly.  When we neglect these important components of our physical self-care, often we become more vulnerable to our emotions and can find it more challenging to deal with everyday stressors.  It can be challenging to manage our grief in a healthy way if we are already vulnerable to stress and feeling overwhelmed.

  1. Engage in regular self-care practices.

When we engage in consistent activities that bring us a state of peace and relaxation, we are setting a foundation in which we are more easily able to regulate our emotions in the long term.  It is important to manage the intensity of our sadness or grief by committing to self-care practices.  That means intentionally making time for what relaxes you- swimming, knitting, cooking, biking, reading, crafting, painting, etc.  It is important to engage in these activities even when we are experiencing low moods, as this will help us regulate our emotions more easily and effectively.

Contact Us

Give us a call or send email to learn how we can work with you and/or your family. 908-857-4422 or

Schedule an Appointment

To schedule an appointment, click on the Book Now button. There you will see our availability for the next two months. You can select the day and time that works best for you.

We look forward to being of assistance and will do our very best to help.

To learn more About Us: About Us

Visit our Art Therapy website to learn more about how Art Therapy can help you or a loved one cope with a wide range of issues: Read our latest blog here:


our team is


To help

Contact Us

Schedule an appointment

Send us a message