Welcoming the new year is a time to gather with family and friends; a time to celebrate new beginnings. However, it can also be an overwhelming experience for those who have recently lost a loved one.
As others push restart on resolutions, those grieving may find it difficult to enjoy the season’s cheer. While the start of the new year may mean different things for different people, a positive mindset can get you back on track toward accepting loss and finding peace.
If you or someone you know recently lost a loved one, continue reading for strategies to focus on the positive in the coming year.
1. Understand the natural grieving process.
In the days, weeks and months following the loss of a loved one, it’s important to remember the grieving process has no set timeline. If you’re experiencing feelings that aren’t necessarily positive, that’s okay. Let yourself heal by acknowledging these feelings.
Whatever your grief, understand that your journey will be unique to you. Remind yourself to look for something positive in each day, even if some days you have to look a little harder than others. The stages of grief are often unpredictable, so it’s important to tackle it all in stride. By maintaining a positive mindset, you can live a life your loved one would be proud of.
2. Honor your loved one.
Although your loved one is no longer physically present, his or her legacy continues to live on through you. A great way to remember your loved one is by honoring them.
Here are some creative ways to remember the life lived:
- Cook your loved one’s favorite meal.
- Cross an item off your loved one’s bucket list.
- Finish a project your loved one was working on.
- Light a memorial candle.
- Make a quilt out of your loved one’s old clothes.
- Set a placeholder where they sat at the dinner table.
- Sponsor a brick or bench at your loved one’s favorite park.
- Take flowers to your loved one’s grave site.
- Volunteer for your loved one’s favorite charity, or give a donation in their name.
Honoring your loved one ensures that your connection remains even after they’ve passed.
3. Focus on your physical and mental health.
Whether the loss was anticipated or not, grief is physically and mentally exhausting.
As you head into the new year, have patience with yourself. Do your best to calm your mind by replacing negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Soothe your mind and body with everyday activities that bring you peace, including:
- Getting a massage
- Lighting a scented candle
- Listening to calming music
- Taking a warm bath or shower
- Pampering yourself at the spa
All of these activities can help you practice self-care in the midst of grief.
4. Surround yourself with friends and family.
For many, the new year magnifies loss. While you may want to isolate yourself from others, it’s important to seek comfort from those closest to you.
Rather than avoid feelings of grief, lean into them by surrounding yourself with the people you love. Consider taking the following actions:
- Accept help when it’s offered.
- Confide in people whom you trust.
- Share stories and fond memories of your loved one.
If your grief seems like it’s too much to bear, seek professional assistance. With the support of others, you can face your grief.
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5. Set aside time to reflect on the past year.
New Years is a time for reflection. Take time to recall the memories you have made in the past year, and think about the new memories you will make in the coming year. Listed below are a few simple ways you can focus on the positive in the New Year:
- Allow cherished memories with your loved one to propel you into the New Year.
- Celebrate life events, such as anniversaries and birthdays.
- Continue rituals and traditions your loved one used to enjoy.
- Find new ways to commemorate your loved one in your day-to-day life.
- Remind yourself of the positive impact your loved one made on you.
While new years can be a difficult time for those who have recently lost a loved one, a positive outlook can make all the difference in tackling the new year with positivity and purpose.
Explore Grief Resources
Busch Funeral and Crematory Services is available to help those spending this New Years without their loved one. Our compassionate and caring staff offers support to those in need at any time of the day. Additionally, you can access our Grief Library for resources, visit our calendar of events for more information on grief support programming, or contact us directly today.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2016, and has been updated for 2018 to be more comprehensive.