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How To Mourn At Christmas?

Grief is not an easy process, especially around Christmas time. Learn how to approach it during the holidays .

Person in a cemetery

The last year was not entirely easy, as the world continues to experience a pandemic situation. In fact, this will be the second Christmas with coronavirus. Photo: Pixabay

LatinAmerican Post | María Fernanda Ramírez Ramos

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The holidays and the end of the year are a time that is associated with sharing with family and friends, bringing traditions to life, and having feelings of hope and togetherness. However, the last year was not entirely easy, as the world continues to experience a pandemic situation. In fact, this will be the second Christmas with coronavirus.

According to the Johns Hopkins University database, during the last month about 205 thousand people have died from the coronavirus, and, since the pandemic began, more than 5 million three hundred. To these figures are added the other deaths from other causes. These figures show that many will have a Christmas marked by the sadness of losing a loved one.

Every day more awareness is created about the importance of taking care of mental health. Therefore, having strategies to cope with grief and live the stages in a healthy way is essential. According to a Unicef manual for the approach to grief, symbolic acts, in the style of farewell rituals, “help to express feelings in the face of loss, to put a little order in the chaotic emotional state, to establish a symbolic order. for life events and allow the social construction of shared meanings ”. In this way, they promote awareness of the grieving process and have become a fundamental tool in the midst of the pandemic, which has prevented families from saying goodbye properly. 

In this sense, Unicef points out that there are valuable tools such as making tributes on these dates, which allow us to remember the loved one and their family legacy. Likewise, it is advisable to write a letter, addressed to the person who died, to express everything we feel. In any case, rituals or symbolic acts are convenient and it is necessary to include children, the elderly and people with disabilities.

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On the other hand, it is advisable not to isolate yourself but, on the contrary, to consolidate a support network, for example, with a series of people who can provide support through conversations or visits. In the same way, it is important to take care of yourself, if you do not try to have healthy sleeping and eating habits, the feeling of sadness can tend to worsen. Also, it is important to exercise.

Talking about what happened and validating the feelings of oneself and of others is also essential to face the situation. Sharing your thoughts with your inner circle is therapeutic. However, if you feel that emotional discomfort and sadness are taking over you and it is difficult for you to continue with the day to day, it is best to contact a psychologist or professional.

The holidays can be an opportunity to meet with those who are still present and remember our loved ones. However, it is advisable not to drink alcohol to avoid altering the nervous system. In this regard, an accompanying guide in grief from the La Caixa Foundation states: “It helps to remember that emotional distress is temporary. It will be pass. It is also normal to feel good at times. "

When it comes to celebrations, create new traditions that have comforting meanings and exclude those that create pain. For example, you can do a family activity in which each person tells a funny or beautiful anecdote about the person who died. However, it is also a good idea to talk with each member of the family to understand how they are feeling and which traditions they are comfortable with and which ones are not. Do not worry if at any time you feel like crying or expressing your feelings, it is normal and surely others will understand.

Finally, it is important to note that although grief is usually understood as the death of a loved one, there are also griefs due to divorces, the death of a pet, when there is a physical separation, for example, when a child goes away. living in another country, or any kind of loss that causes emotional distress.