The Holidays are generally a very happy time:
Spending more time with family and friends
Participating in family Holiday traditions
Teens getting a Holiday break from school (Yes!)
Parents have their teens home from school during the break (Yes?)
Family vacations, and
lest we forget, gift giving AND gift receiving! (Awesome!!)
This can really be a magical time of year full of grace, charity, and love.
For some, the Holidays can also bring with it a sense of emptiness due to the loss of a loved one:
A feeling of something missing and not feeling whole
A hurt heart knowing that a loved one won't be around this year to celebrate with us
An effort to enjoy the season, putting on an external face of happiness while also internally grieving a loss of a loved one
It is a noble reason why teens, young adults, and family members who have lost loved ones put on happy exterior. They don't want to take away from the magic of the season for other people. And it can be exhausting. That is grace in action.
However, it is important that those who have lost loved ones and are celebrating the Christmas and Holiday season without them also focus on self-care. There are things that you can do to help make this season more meaningful and to help you through the feeling of hurt from not having the loved one with you to celebrate the season.
3 Tips to Help with the Feeling of Loss During the Holiday Season
For those who may be struggling with grief and loss during this Holiday season, I would like to offer 3 tips on how to incorporate the loved one who is no longer with us during the Holiday season.
Share Happy Memories of Your Loved One
Being able to get together as a family and share fond memories of the loved one brings a mix of joy and pain. As teen's are able to talk about what they enjoyed most with the family member, it can bring a sense of closeness and a warmth in their heart as well. This can be healing.
Family members can reminisce about the funny things their loved one used to do. The kindness the loved one showed to others. The love they shared in their unique ways. Lessons you learned from them being in your life.
Feelings are always seeking a way out. If we hold them in it's like a pressure cooker that doesn't have an escape valve. Eventually it will blow, and those feelings will burst out and usually in non-productive ways.
Talking helps. You may feel the hurt of the loss of a loved one. But your heart will also be filled with love and closeness that invites that loved one back in the home during that time. This can help in the process of working through grief and loss as well.
Surround Yourself with Close Friends & Family Members
There may be a temptation to isolate and not be around others during this time of year. It can be hard watching others find joy and happiness which reminds you of the hurt you feel. Being alone can be one of the worst things to do and can cause or deepen depression for teens, young adults, and adults alike.
Being alone you are not distracted, you don't have the opportunity to enjoy being with others, and your mind will likely center on the loss and hurt you feel. This will only intensify the more you isolate yourself from others.
For teens and young adults, find friends that understand what you are going through. If you have close friends that may not understand, you can confide in them the struggles you may be having. They will more than likely understand, and you may find that you also have friends experiencing similar struggles.
For the family, make plans to be with close friends and loved ones. Enjoy that moment in time where you are enjoying people that you love or have fond feelings for. Even that one "crazy uncle" everyone has in the family will at least give you good stories to share for years to come!
Focus on Those Things in Your Life That You Are Grateful For
While we may have the experience of not having a loved one around during this time, we can focus on what we are grateful for. While we may not have the presence of that loved one, we do have wonderful friends and family in our lives. We can be grateful for them and our relationship with them.
For teens and young adults, spending time with and being grateful for your friends can be a significant help during this time of year. Finding gratitude for your parent(s) and the sacrifices they have made for you to help you be happy and healthy.
Maybe you have a favorite teacher or coach at school that helps you. Finding other areas, in as many other areas as you can, can bring with it a feeling of peace and calm.
Both a Professional & Personal Perspective
I wrote this blog to help others who are struggling during this time of year who have lost loved ones. But this topic is also close to my heart during this time of year due to my own personal experience.
I lost my parents relatively young. My father passed of cancer in 1999 and mom of suicide in 2003. This time of year, each year, every year since, brings with it a bit of those feelings described above. Some years are easier than others, but the feelings are there regardless.
I've come to understand that it's okay -- it may simply be the price of loving someone. But it doesn't mean that there aren't things one can do to lighten the load during this time of year.
Surrounding myself with close friends and family helps take the edge off. I enjoy my time spent with them as we are making new Holiday and Christmas memories that I can look back on year after year.
I have much to be grateful for in my life and think of not just the obvious ones but put some mental energy to think about those things that are a little more obscure and not as obvious.
I also seek professional help if it happens that one year is tougher than another for some reason. Yup, even us seasoned therapists need support from time to time. We are not immune to life's challenges.
Teen therapists, young adult counselors, and family therapists are here to help make this season as joyful and meaningful as possible while also helping you through the grief and loss.
Teen Therapy, Young Adult Counseling, or Family Counseling Can Help
If you may be struggling due to a loss of a loved one, our teen therapists, young adult counselors, and family therapists are here to help. It could be as few as 3-4 sessions to give you someone to talk to during this season.
Or it could be that you find value, help, and healing in those sessions and choose to continue on past this season.
If seeing a therapist may feel like a big leap, please find a trusted friend or family member to talk to. Friends and family WANT to support you and share the load.
You will not be a burden but a blessing in their lives as you give them an opportunity to love and support you.
Katy Teen & Family Counseling: A combined 50+ Years of Experience in Teen Therapy, Young Adult Counseling, & Family Therapy
If you are struggling during this Holiday season, we can help. Our teen counselors, young adult therapists, and family therapists are here to help you work through grief and loss.
If you feel like talking to one of our therapists can help, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:
Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling
Speak with one of our caring therapists
Let us help you work through the grief and loss to help you find joy and meaning.
Other Therapy and Counseling Services Offered at Katy Teen & Family Counseling
At our Katy, Tx location of Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we use counseling approaches that are time tested and shown to work. These approaches have been supported by research and shown to work in the shortest amount of time possible.
Board Certified Neurofeedback Therapy
Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)
Peak performance (optimal athletic brain performance)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR Therapy)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
You have worked hard to build a strong relationship and if that relationship is now struggling, you can work hard with a therapist to strengthen your relationship or marriage.
Parenting counseling for teen success
Parent counseling for support managing blended families with teens
Co-parenting counseling for divorced parents for teen success
Couples counseling for communication improvement
Marriage counseling to improve trust in the relationship
Couples therapy to address infidelity and unfaithfulness
About the Author
Jason Drake is a Licensed Clinical Worker. He specializes in teen therapy, family counseling, and counseling young adults. He has provided therapy to teens, young adults, and families since 2003.
Jason is also a regular contributor to various magazines, publications, and news outlets lending his expertise to various mental health related topics. You can check these articles out on our "Featured Articles" service page on our website.