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5 Tips For Supporting a Grieving Person During The Holiday Season

Updated: Apr 10

The only certainty in life is death. So it stands to reason that at some point during our life we will all experience a profound loss. Even with that sound reasoning, the only thing deeper than the social pressure to not talk about grief is the fear the average person experiences when they encounter a conversation with a grieving person.

The holiday season can be challenging to endure as a grieving person. When you support a grieving person during this time of year, it can leave a lasting mark on their grief journey.

Here are 5 tips for supporting a grieving person during the holiday season.

Tip #1 - Acknowledge that they are grieving

The grief a person is experiencing can sometimes feel like an elephant in the room. The grieving person doesn't want to bring up their feelings for fear of bringing you down and you don't want to bring it up because you may not know what to say. It can be an uncomfortable situation for everyone. I'd like to offer you a simple solution: YOU acknowledge that you recognize that the person in from of you is grieving. A simple conversation can sound like this, "Hey Sally, I want to respect and honor how you are feeling right now. We don't need to talk about anything, but I want you to know that I acknowledge that you are grieving and hope you are able to find peace."

Tip #2 - Accept that their grief doesn't have a timeline

Even if you have experienced a similar loss, your grief will never look the same as another person's. How a person processes grief is influenced by many factors that only the grieving person has access to. Letting a person know that you are there to support them through THEIR unique grief process is priceless and something that not a lot of people get to experience.

"Even if you have experienced a similar loss, your grief will never look the same as another person's." – Dani Frank

Tip #3 - Help them create a new tradition

One of the most painful grief realizations that often occurs during the holiday season is that beloved traditions are now too painful of a reminder of the life that no longer exists. Knowing this, you can help your grieving person create a new tradition. It doesn't have to be a grand event. It can be as simple as donning your ugly Christmas sweaters and going for a walk in the park or hosting a zoom cookie-making party. The smallest gesture really can have a large impression.

Tip #4 - Don't ask, "How are you doing?"

"How are you doing?" is a question that you ask someone on any given day of the week. By asking this question, you demonstrate that you are not acknowledging the true state of the person before you. They experienced a profound loss. Of course, they are not doing well. Instead of asking this question, try asking, "How are you feeling today?" When you ask "How are you feeling today?" you meet the person exactly where they are today and express some acknowledgment of their present experience.

Tip #5 - Provide a safe space to talk about it

We live in a society that would rather watch a person wither and shrink into a shell of a human than discuss their emotions and mental health. In our modern society, we are made to feel like pariahs when we are grieving. When you provide a safe space for grieving people to talk about their experiences and how they feel, you don't have to try to make them better or "fix" the situation. The only thing you have to do is let them know that you are listening.

Yoga For Grief: The Healing Circle

Hopefully, these 5 tips for supporting a grieving person during the holiday season make it clearer how you can positively impact a grieving person's experience. Now that you have this knowledge, use it to stop overthinking what to say or do when you are with a grieving person.

I want to invite you to join Yoga for Grief: The Healing Circle. This 5-week container will begin on December 1st. This class series is designed to help support the multi-dimensions of the grieving being during the holiday season. Click Here to learn more.


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I'm Dani

I blend the transformative power of therapeutic yoga and career coaching to guide your toward holistic well-being and professional fulfillment. 

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