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Coping With Grief This Winter

  • For some, the holidays bring an onslaught of grief triggers followed by months of feeling adrift in the dark days of winter. Understandably, winter magnifies the issues that we face after a loss, such as depression,  isolation, and poor self-care. 


    If this sounds familiar, know that you are not alone. Here are three tips for handling winter and keeping your outlook on brighter days ahead.


    Grab your spot in the sun:  Dark winter days and longer nights may have you experiencing significant losses in sunlight. These changes can cause measurable changes in your body’s biochemistry, including an increase in melatonin and a drop in serotonin and vitamin D.  If you’re feeling out of sorts or especially tired, do what you can to get outside, open the blinds, and give yourself access to natural light whenever you can. Though simple, these small adjustments may help you better cope with all the emotions you are experiencing.  You can also talk to your doctor if you suspect you’re experiencing winter-onset seasonal affective disorder (SAD).


    Combat isolation: Grief can feel like you’re in a tunnel all by yourself. Experiencing loss feels isolating in any season, but winter is truly difficult. We want to avoid the cold, “veg out” and skip any already tenuous socially-distanced plans. Working through grief is healthy and important. Yet, during winter, intentionally setting aside time to occupy your mind on other things is also critical. Though it feels hard, texting a friend, cooking, working on puzzles or engaging in your favorite activities will boost your spirits. Start small and be gentle with yourself.


    Get moving. We know, this may just feel wrong in winter. Yet, even minimal amounts of activity are proven to have a significant impact on your physical and mental health. Though your options are limited, encourage yourself to bundle up and take a walk, stretch in your living room or shovel the front stoop. If you enlist a friend to keep you accountable, you’re more likely to succeed and combat isolation at the same time.


    When things feel hard, that’s because they are hard. This season is no different and you may feel at your emotional limits. Yet finding your way through winter is possible with these tips and the help of your community. Check in on each other to give and receive support no matter the season. 


    Our mission at GatheringUs is bring together family and friends to support each other and celebrate the life of their loved ones. To learn more about our virtual funerals and memorial ceremonies, schedule a free 30-minute consultation with our team. We can help with planning, facilitation, tech support, audiovisuals and design, and work with you to create a meaningful and personal event. We free you up, so you can be fully present with your community. 

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