Whether it’s your first Christmas without a certain person or your fifth, whether you’ve experienced a significant loss in the past year or are sad to be spending the holidays alone – so many of us struggle at this time of year because our memories turn painful, certain songs or decorations trigger emotional reactions or we’re heartbroken that our relationships are not the way we wish they could be. 
 
Many of us find it difficult to enjoy the holidays. What makes things all the more challenging is that we're expected to be in good spirits all of the time and that we see everyone else enjoying their holidays and thinking we should be able to do the same. 
grief, bereavement
Today we're acknowledging everyone's struggles at this time of year and letting you know that it's okay to feel bad or to cry. Did you know that crying actually releases oxytocin and endorphins in the body? It’s a form of natural pain relief that is a normal part of the human experience. 
 
From now until Christmas, we'll be sharing our top tips for grievers on how to cope during the holiday season. Today's tip: You're allowed to cry. 
 
bereavement at Christmas
You may need to let family members know that you may cry at certain points during the holiday and that it's okay if they need to do the same. If you’re spending time with extended family make sure that you explain that you might need to escape to a spare room every now and again without worrying about being interrogated about where you’ve been. In addition, it might be a good idea to have an escape route at holiday parties and family gatherings. Be sure you have a way to leave early, for example by avoiding alcohol in case you need to drive home or by checking the times that buses or trains will be running on the bank holidays in advance. 
 
 
Grief is unique to everyone. Whatever your grief experience has been thus far, we hope that you find comfort in a way that is meaningful to you. 
Coping with bereavement at holidays, Christmas
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