How to manage grief and therapy during holidays

Coping with holiday grief

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - While the holidays are a time to celebrate for most families, many will be dealing with the loss of a loved one.

“Every time we encounter a tradition - when we don’t have that loved one there it’s a reminder of their absence,” said Liz Kelly, a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and therapist with Talkspace, an online therapy app.

Kelly says this year is even tougher for those who have lost a loved one to COVID-19, and who are unable to be surrounded by a support system because of the pandemic.

“And we may not even be able to say goodbye and that really impacts a person’s ability to grieve.”

Kelly says it is important to realize when you are experiencing grief, which can present itself in many different ways.

“It can be sadness, it can be anger, irritability, it can be confusion, exhaustion, disappointment,” she says, “grief really describes lots of different emotions.”

Kelly also suggests being kinder to yourself and practicing self-care.

“Don’t ask yourself, ‘What’s wrong with me? Why am I feeling this way?’,” she said, “Ask yourself, ‘What do I need right now? What would be helpful?’ And it’s perfectly ok to say no to things that are stressful.”

Kelly says even those who have not lost a loved one may be grieving this year because of the loss of a sense of “normalcy”.

Talkspace has seen an increase of people seeking therapy for the first time. It is something Kelly considers one positive from this year.

“My hope is that this will continue, that the stigma around mental health will continue to subside.”

To find more information about Talkspace, visit the website here: https://www.talkspace.com/

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