Helpful Strategies To Cope With Holiday Grief After Losing A Parent

Candles burning in a church background

Grief does not go away, and it hits especially hard after we lose a parent. Navigating the holidays can become tougher as a flood of memories pour in. It’s important to utilize all the tools we can to make sure we get the right help to not move beyond our grief but live with it as a natural part of our daily lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with the loss of a parent this holiday season, try following some of these simple tips. 

Self-Care and Self-Expression

Develop a simple exercise routine, practice mindful meditation or take a quiet walk daily. There will be days when it seems impossible, and that’s okay. “Most of us can be very hard on ourselves,” said licensed mental health counselor Stephanie Booth. “We don’t want to tell ourselves, ‘Well, I should be over this by now.’ Grief is not something that just goes away.” 

Part of self-care is expressing our emotions. We suffer physically and mentally in the long run if we leave them ignored. “It’s getting comfortable with uncomfortable feelings,” Booth says. “We want to recognize and accept our emotions without judgment.” 

Here are four different ways you can try that.

Tell a Friend

A friend can provide a huge help just by being there to hear us, especially when it seems impossible to get out of bed. For all you know, they could also be going through a similar issue. Your reach for help may be seen as a rescuing hand by another.  


Try writing in a private journal and detail your journey through grief during the holidays. A journal provides an emotional outlet and allows you to self-reflect on your progress. It also helps answer more difficult questions when you return to it later, such as what emotional triggers to look out for. 

Expression Through Art

Sometimes, emotions are too hard or complicated to express through words. Painting, crafting, or even welding allows us to channel those emotions through our creativity and helps us find solace during difficult times, especially when grieving. 

Seek Professional Help

There is never a wrong time to speak with a mental health professional, especially when we’ve never experienced grief. “They may not know what is normal or what to expect,” Booth says. 

A certified grief counselor has the skills and expertise to provide us with many coping tools in a safe and confidential manner. “A lot of people reach out to a mental health therapist because they just want someone that doesn’t know (them), especially if there was a complicated relationship or there is a previous trauma with the deceased,” Booth says.

Ask your primary care physician for a referral, check qualifications and consider online options. 

It’s difficult losing a parent, let alone navigating the holidays without them. That doesn’t mean we have to do this alone. If you or someone you know is dealing with the loss of a parent through the holidays this season, keep these helpful tips in mind, and remember you always have support. 


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Written by Joseph Siriotis

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