Surviving Thanksgiving: 6 tips for grievers

You hoped and prayed, you wished on a star, you stuck your head in the sand, you ignored your calendar, and despite all your best attempts to escape the holiday season, it’s still here.  Good effort, but unfortunately time has this really annoying way of marching on whether you like it or not.

When it comes to grief, the holidays can mean many things.  For some, it’s a welcome time of year, bringing comfort, memories, and family.  For others, it’s a painful reminder of the loss of loved ones and tough life changes, coupled with practical and financial stressors. For many, it is a combination of both – that bittersweet combination of comfort and pain that grievers come to know all too well.

We have been sharing some older posts on social media to help you get mentally prepped for the season, but in case you missed them we wanted to share a couple of our tips, articles, podcasts, course and other resources to keep you going this holiday.

Thanksgiving Grief Tip One: Be prepared for grief triggers.  

They are everywhere around the holidays, it is just a fact.  Anticipating triggers and thinking of constructive ideas for coping with them can sometimes make them a little easier to manage in the moment. If you want to start thinking about some holiday triggers, check out this post (click on the image to go to the article!):thanksgiving grief

Thanksgiving Grief Tip Two: Seek gratitude.  

Okay, I know that seeking gratitude is an overused concept that feels kind of cliche these days, but the bottom line is that it works. For real, there is research.  Don’t trust us? Trust Harvard. Gratitude helps us shift our focus so we start noticing some of the positive things that exist around us, rather than exclusively the negative.  Click on the image below for a Thanksgiving gratitude challenge.thanksgiving-grief-2

Thanksgiving Grief Tip Three: Look for tips and tools to cope and find balance this holiday. 

We currently have a totally free e-course (that also happens to be totally self-paced) to help you connect with others, learn some new tips and tools for coping and remembering your loved one, and face some of those complicated holiday feelings head-on.  We suggest you give it a try if you are feeling anxiety about the coming holiday season. Click the image below to register, then start whenever you’re ready.

thanksgiving grief ecourse

 Thanksgiving Grief Tip Four: Allow yourself to take a break from togetherness if you need to.

Plan to get some space from the togetherness when you need it.  Family members are great, friends are great, but it can all get to be a bit much when you are emotionally depleted and muddling through the holidays.  It is important to remember that you need time and space to recharge your batteries.  

You may feel a lot of pressure to participate in holiday events, but try to be aware of your limits and needs.  Thinking through your events and creating plans in advance to take breaks (or leave if you need to) can make a huge difference. Get more info and tips for coping with togetherness by clicking the image

Thanksgiving Grief Tip Five: Create something that reminds you of your loved one.

The benefits of this are two-fold.  First, you get to use some creativity, which can help with reducing stress and coping with tough emotions.  Second, it allows you to honor and remember your loved one.  Win-win.  What you decide to create is up to you.  We specifically created memory lanterns with kids one year for Thanksgiving and the whole time I was left thinking, adults would love this too! So if you don’t have any other ideas this one is fun and easy for all ages,  You can check out the link below.memory-lantern

Thanksgiving Grief Tip Six: Be prepared to regroup.  

Holiday disasters happen.  You may try sooooo hard this year to create a happy holiday for yourself and your family, only to have something unexpected happen that makes it feel less than the day you expected.   Sometimes this is well outside of your control and all you can do is look for ways to push forward.  As the old saying goes, hope for the best but plan for the worst.  

Getting yourself mentally prepared for the emotions of the day, as well as preparing how you might handle something that doesn’t go well, can be hugely helpful in getting through the day when it comes.  Our family had a very rough Thanksgiving a couple of years ago and we definitely had to put regrouping in action. I wrote all about it, which you can check out by clicking the link below:the-art-of-regrouping

Okay, we hope one or two of the ideas above help you to get through the next few days and the rest of the holiday season!  While we have your attention, we wanted to make a quick request and a quick announcement for those of you who don’t follow us on social media.

We have some holiday cards for sale this year!  We know you may be skipping cards this year, but if you’re not, consider these cards!   You can click here to purchase them in the WYG store (a pack of 10 cards is $10, with discounts if you get more) or click the image below.

‘May the memories of those we love shine brightly’ holiday card – 10 Pack



November 19, 2019

9 responses on "Surviving Thanksgiving: 6 tips for grievers"

  1. I lost my other on Good Friday. My friends just don’t get that I want to be alone these holidays. Thanksgiving this year my mother’s birthday falls on the 28th which is Thanksgiving and my fathers falls on the 29th they both passed away. My birthday is on Christmas day and I do not want to be around people and have forced conversations I won’t a quiet day to reflect.

    I know whats best for me, too bad others don’t. of course they have good intentions and good thoughts but these are days I want to be alone and to remember the best times.

  2. Grief i Sadly have tons of, My unfortunate story is weighing on my heart where at times it feels like it’s crushing me. I wonder if I’m ever going to come up for air again? For me it’s starts 3 years ago when I lost my father, still to this day it doesn’t seem real, i’m still wishing to wake up from. And honestly haven’t dealt with yet, but one thing I do know is that NO child should ever have to witness their parent change for the worse right in front of them. Like I did, my father had a stroke and I was there to watch a horrible demoralizing effect that it was and had done to him. I truly wish that on no one, that will be with me forever. Gosh I pray I did’nt have that image sketched in my brain. I just felt so helpless, there was nothing I could do. Can’t cope with that still, it angers and frustrates me everyday. But I know I’ll see my daddy again in heaven, tragically my story doesn’t end there, now this is where I start questioning my faith. This might be even harder for me to wrap my head around, by far it’s going to see how strong I really am. Because boy is god testing my faith right now. My other half of me ( My beloved Sister ) recently passed away. She was my best friend, my right hand, my EVERYTHING !! Is gone, what happens to me now? I’m walking around feeling numb inside, like I’m going to either explode or have a major meltdown, I’m just so lost, but she left three beautiful children who have shown me what being and having strength is all about. The courage & bravery they carry is remarkable, but they are my sisters kids ( she was one tough girl) but still at times we may walk around clueless, we still and always will have eachother. For that makes me happy. Like I tell my niece we just have to take it one day at a time, for now that’s all we can do. I’m grateful to my father who showed me how to be myself, thank-you daddy. And my Sister I owe my life, she taught me how to laugh, and how to love. She definitely made me a much better person, and I was honored to have known her & to have called her My Sister !!! We lost two beautiful souls, but we’re blessed more for carrying them in our hearts.

  3. 6 months ago I lost my grandmother… She was my soulmate. We had an unbelievable bond. She was 90 when she passed away, she was so strong and all there but her heart was old, weak and sick. After two horrible weeks in the hospital woth my motger and I but her side bight and day she gained her angel wings. I am so blessed and grateful to have my parents, children , husband, brother and extened family and friends but that huge space in my heart … Well that was for my grandmother. Today is Thanksgiving and we celebrate at our house with family. Now is my time to cry and grief. I will allow this time and then I will try and live for the moment like she would want me too. I often would ask her Abue (short for abuela) what am I going to do the day your not around..?? She would say live your life.. Liana everyone is going to die one day its part of life.. When I go you continue to live and move forward. So with a blessed but broken heart I continue… Live for the moment count your blessings and the times you had. Be thankful and be happy. Happy Thanksgiving and holidays to all💙

  4. I lost my husband a year ago December 08th, and the last meal that I cooked for him was Thanksgiving, I was feeling sorry for myself but I look in the faces of the children we created and all of our blessings, and it made me feel so much better and we have the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  5. I lost our son 5 yrs ago the first couple holidays I didn’t think we wld survive then I did start trying to count my blessings and found we still had some then I read to try to start new traditions sober started taking cruises around Christmas and took the family now our third year of cruising together and it is so good it is something I never thought wld happen but it is good

  6. I “pre-grieve”. I select a day prior to the actual holiday. On that day, I spend time remembering my daughter. I honor her memories by doing kind things for others, its a day for her and me. Then when the actual holiday comes up, I spend that day with my other family members.

  7. It helped me tremendously to think about what my loved one would have wanted me to do at the holidays. After my mom died around Halloween I desperately wanted to cancel the holidays all together. But I realized how that would have made my mom sad. She loved Christmas. Would she want me to cancel everything and mourn, or would she want me to make it memorable for my kids and family like she did for me? Somehow it helped to think that I was doing something that she would have enjoyed.

  8. Thanks for these ideas. we are some what in the same boat. I have in one way dreading it but in another so Thankful that all our family knows the Lords. PTL That helps in this kind of situation. Hope you are doing ok. I have struggled but But I am greatful that I know where he is. No more pain and struggling for his breath plus several other health problems. I pray for your family and that they are doing as well as possible. God Bless your family as you go through this Holiday GOD loves YOU and so do I.

  9. I have lost two children (age 15 and age 40), 4 siblings, parents and grandparents. I am the eldest in family. Most of the family passings have occurred in October, November. I just lost my brother a week ago. However, I started my own tradition of cooking holiday dinners for domestic abuse shelters (they cannot go home for holidays) and also cook at homeless shelters. It is very rewarding and a reminder that no matter what we go thru – we are still blessed. I celebrate the lives of those that have passed by giving back to those in need. Very rewarding in ways I never realized could happen.

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