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Dealing with grief during the most wonderful time of the year

ADRIAN SWANCAR-UNSPLASH

HOLIDAY season is tough on people who have suffered a recent loss and checking in on family and friends will go a long way, said a psychologist.

“As we celebrate and as we are with our family, we also get in touch with those who we know lost someone,” said Dr. Lilian N. Gui, a specialist in counseling psychology.

If they say something you think isn’t valid, do not contradict them, she told One News PH’s Agenda on Dec. 26.

“The reason you’re calling them is to see how they are, not to prove you are right,” she added. “Listen to them; silently pray for them. If you want, you can also send them something.”

Grief, which is the natural reaction to a loss — whether it be the death of a loved one, the end of an important relationship, or the loss of independence through disability — can be hard to process during the holidays.

The expectation to be happy can make individuals even more stressed — especially for those already struggling with a mood disorder.

Isolation, withdrawal, and disconnection are indications that everything is not okay in someone’s world.

“These are also things that we should look into, especially right now the economy is so bad,” she said, pointing out that job loss can also cause grief.

Accepting one’s emotions, including sadness, is part of managing holiday-related stress, said Dr. Gui, and talking about negative thoughts is better than keeping them in. Holding on to good memories can also keep sadness at bay.

“Think of the good times you spend together,” she said. “Pick the good ones. Be mindful, remember them, keep them in your memories.” — Patricia B. Mirasol

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