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Expert tips for those grieving during holiday season

Updated: Dec 8, 2013 08:51 AM
© Hemera / Thinkstock © Hemera / Thinkstock

SATURDAY, Dec. 7, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The holidays can be a time of sadness and grief for those who have lost a loved one, but there are things people can do to ease those feelings, an expert advises.

"Personal issues don't magically go away because the calendar turns to November or December. Problems with relationships, jobs, finances or health can take on enhanced importance during the supposedly 'merry' holiday period," Josh Klapow, an associate professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, said in a university news release.

"The death of a loved one during the holidays can trigger strong feelings, even if the death occurred several years ago," he noted. "In the case of someone who died recently, the holidays can take on a whole new meaning for their family and friends."

Klapow offered four ways to ease feelings of grief and sadness during the holidays:

Don't expect this holiday season to be the same as those in the past. This might lead to disappointment. It is better to celebrate and grieve at your own pace.

It is normal to sometimes become overwhelmed with emotions. If you worry about feeling sad at holiday gatherings, try to allow yourself to grieve and maybe cry before going out. It might make it easier to get through such occasions if your emotions have been released beforehand.

Do not feel obligated to attend events that do not appeal to you. It is important to accept support from family and friends, but you should not overcommit yourself. It is best to give yourself some time alone but avoid becoming isolated.

If faith is important to you, try to spend some time with like-minded people. They will often share your desire to pray and talk about common beliefs.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers holiday health and safety tips.

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