Online Originals: How to deal with loss during the holidays

Online Originals

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Celebrate the holidays or don’t. There are lots of different advice and suggestions on getting through this season. The only “right” answer is the one that makes you the most comfortable.

Know your limitations … this year has been so different for everyone.

Katherine Thompson

Thompson is a counselor. Her specialty? Grief. Thompson said a lot of people are dealing with loss this year. 

This year is pretty much different for everyone, whether we lost a loved one or not. We lost a job, our sense of normalcy. Being able to go to the grocery store without a mask on, right? There’s so much different this year.

Katherine Thompson

Thompson said grief affects everyone differently.

“Well, one thing about grief, regardless of what we lost, there’s no sense of hierarchy in it,” Thompson said.

Some people may feel guilty for grief over a lost job or life experience. Thompson said grief isn’t always tied to death.

It’s all something that we’re grieving. So allowing yourself to feel that loss and feel those feelings of grief and sadness, and all those feelings is a healthy thing and not something people should feel guilty for.

Katherine Thompson

The counselor said people may feel pressure to celebrate the holidays this year, but advises them to make sure they’re up to it.  

“So if going to do an outdoor Christmas event with more than ten people is going to make your anxiety increase, then know that’s a limitation for yourself and don’t go or limit the time you’re going to spend there,” Thompson said.

If you’re trying to help out someone else through grief, saying things like “stay positive” won’t help. Instead, Thompson said specific, detailed actions can work better. 

“A simple, I’m going to the grocery store, what can I pick up for you?” Thompson said.

The main thing Thompson wants people to know this holiday season is “remember you have control over what you do and how you respond to things.”

Here’s a list of resources to help get through this holiday season.

Holiday ideas during COVID

How to support a griever from a distance

Self-compassion while grieving during the holidays

General mental health tips during COVID


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