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Pella Regional Health Center offers tips for holiday grief

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 10:18 a.m. CDT

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PELLA — Hospice of Pella with Pella Regional Health Center wants to help people with their grief during the holidays. People who have lost a loved one can enjoy memories and have the memories of the deceased be a part of the holidays.

Many people have a need to talk about their loved one during the holidays rather than avoid the topic. It is a healthy approach to the grief process. The holidays are a season for special family gatherings, which can be difficult for some because someone special to them will be missing. Instead of feeling joy, they may be feeling extreme loneliness, sadness and even anger.

Suggestions for getting through the holidays:

• Allow yourself some time to release your sadness. Visit your loved one’s grave site, share memories of the past holidays, write your sadness down and share your feelings of loneliness with a trusted family member or friend. Talk about what you enjoyed and what you will miss. Research shows that when we express our feelings we gain more control over them, are able to clarify our feelings and those feelings can seem less overwhelming.

• Set realistic plans. This holiday season will be different than others from the past. How important is it to carry every single family tradition out this year? If you prefer to carry out some of those traditions, plan how other family members can help to make it easier. Another good option is to begin new traditions, such as taking a trip, visiting a friend or going out to eat.

• Symbolically represent your loved one with something tangible, such as a special ornament, a burning candle or displaying or cooking some of their favorite things.

• Remember the needs of others. The greatest happiness may come from doing something for someone else.

• Get enough rest. Exhaustion can make things seem bigger than they really are. Lack of good rest also lowers your immune system, opening the door to illness. Expect pain and sadness. Allow yourself to feel it. It is fine to scale back. Seek solace as needed with a counselor, friend, prayer or by crying and venting your feelings.

Grief is very individual and unique to every person. Take steps that work for you.

Pella Regional Health Center is a not-for-profit provider of healthcare that is accredited by The Joint Commission. Its mission is to provide healthcare and healing services with Christian compassion. Information on Pella Regional Health Center and its clinics is available by calling Public Relations at (641) 621-2358 or visiting the website at www.pellahealth.org.

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