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St Barnabas Hospice’s 12 ways of coping with bereavement at Christmas

Coping with bereavement at Christmas
Coping with bereavement at Christmas

Christmas can be an especially difficult time of year – especially if it your first after bereavement.

St Barnabas Hospice wants to help those going through bereavement over this festive period with 12 ways of coping with bereavement at Christmas.

St Barnabas Hospice understands how painful this time of year can be and have created Twelve Ways of Coping.

The hospice provides local support throughout the year for all adults to attend in Lincolnshire who may be struggling with bereavement.

The services are free of charge and available without having to have accessed any of their services, supporting anyone who has been bereaved.

The local charity hosts weekly meetings at St Barnabas Hospice in Spalding, 2 Clover Way, Spalding, PE11 3GD.

The volunteers are there to support in whatever way is helpful and help to create a warm and welcoming place.

Although first visits may feel daunting or overwhelming, the meetings offer the perfect opportunity to talk through concerns or to choose just to listen.

Mandy Irons, head of Wellbeing Services at St Barnabas, said: “Our bereavement sessions have been created to help those attending feel comfortable as Christmas can be a particularly difficult time of year.

“As a result of this, we have created 12 ways to help those coping with bereavement at Christmas.

“Everyone has different ways of coping with being bereaved and some of these may help and others may not, but it is important to find what works for you.”

1. Give yourself permission to cry or be emotional; it is okay to show your feelings.

2. Include the person in some way, perhaps light a candle or raise a toast.

3. It is your choice to accept or decline invitations – if Christmas lunch with friends or family feels too much – perhaps attend for a shorter amount of time or after Christmas Day.

4. Give people permission to talk about your loved one; they may be concerned about upsetting you or saying the wrong thing. Make them aware that you are comfortable with them sharing memories by starting a conversation or recalling a memory.

5. If you are spending time with others, agree that you might also like some time alone. Helping other people to understand your needs will ensure that they know how they can help you.

6. Explain that you may have to change your plans at the last minute. Grief can come in waves and having a “safety net” can be enough reassurance that you will be able to cope and that you are not letting anyone down.

7. If you will be on your own at Christmas you may want to research what is happening locally as many community groups continue to meet throughout the festive period.

8. Talk to your friends and family beforehand. Everyone grieves in different ways and you may need to make others aware of your feelings or worries – they may be able to help.

9. Keeping busy can be a good distraction, being too busy can be exhausting. Pace yourself and give yourself time for other non-festive activities... a walk or reading a book are both good ways to relax.

10. Have fun and don’t feel guilty –enjoying the company of other people and the spirit of the season can be very comforting. There is no expectation for you to be sad all of the time, we all grieve, remember and celebrate life in very different ways.

11. Sometimes it is easier to talk to people who aren’t family or friends and who understand how difficult bereavement may be, especially at this time of year. St Barnabas’ Hospice holds weekly bereavement groups to help and support you, regardless of the time of year.

12. Above all, be kind to yourself and remember that this is just another day.”

• For more information about St Barnabas Hospice’s Bereavement Care or to join a group contact 0845 0550708.


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