Self care over the holidays

The holidays can be a fun time of year filled with family, friends and celebration. But for those who have lost someone or are grieving, it can also be a painful time. This resource provides practical tips for those navigating grief during the holiday season.

It is important to remember that everyone experiences grief differently and that it’s a normal human reaction to loss.

This holiday season, remember to take time to honour and acknowledge any grief in your life. It is likely that these holidays will feel different from previous years and that they may be emotionally difficult.

Please feel supported to use these tips to help you through the holiday season and to share with others who may need a little extra warmth this season.

Be kind to yourself

The holiday season can be a tough time of year. It’s good to understand your limits, be honest with yourself and set healthy boundaries. Don’t feel as if you need to force yourself to accept every invitation if you don’t want to go.

Try treating yourself each day to something you will enjoy. Suggestions can include:

  • Going for walk or run

  • Going to the beach or a park

  • Listening to music

  • Having a massage

  • Hanging out with friends.

  • Practising mindfulness or meditation

  • Participating in group exercise

  • Eating healthy

  • Have a pamper day

  • Reading a book

Don’t forget that nature can be spiritually cleansing and healing. The sights, smells and sounds of the surroundings can decrease stress and increase relaxation. So make time to spend outdoors.

Click here for more self care tips.

Do something kind for others

Doing something kind for others may lift your spirits and help you feel better about the holidays. Examples include volunteering at a soup kitchen, a nursing home, delivering presents to the disadvantaged, or working with children. Performing selfless acts of kindness can also provide you with strength, happiness and purpose.

Find ways to honour your memories

This may be your first holiday without the person you love, so it’s completely normal to feel sad that they’re no longer with you. You may react more sensitively to things or feel detached from those around you. Some suggestions you might like to try:

  • Allowing yourself some time out to feel sad and think about the person you love.

  • Thinking about all the things you liked about the person.

  • Doing something that you used to do together.

  • Writing a letter to the person.

  • Revisiting a favourite spot where you spent time together.

  • Sharing some of your memories of them with others.

It’s okay to feel joy

The holiday can bring about a range of emotions. Allow yourself to feel each one of them freely without judgement. Happiness, sadness, stress, excitement, and don’t feel guilty for feeling joy. It’s ok to be happy and share a laugh with others.

Make Lists

The holidays can be a very busy season and grief can sometimes make it harder for us to concentrate and remember things. When you have a lot going on over the holiday season, write a list, even if you aren’t usually a list-maker. Putting things in the calendar will help keep you organised and less stressed. Remember to be kind to yourself, and if you need to take a moment to yourself, you can.

Check in with family and friends

Sometimes we can get caught up and lost in our own worlds and lose track of others. Remember to follow up with your friends and family, thank them and share your gratitude. Check in with them and let them know that you care and are thinking of them.


It’s okay to reach out to people if you are struggling with your grief. Speaking to a trusted family member or friends can help, and don’t be afraid to seek out professional help if that is what you need.

Helplines like Lifeline, Beyond Blue, Griefline or Friendline are also great options if you are feeling isolated, need support or someone to talk to.

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