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EpisodesSeason 2 Holidays

Hard No for the Holidays: Grief During the ‘Happiest Time of the Year’

Holiday Miniseries 3 | December 13, 2022

Managing Grief throughout the Holiday Season

Beverly Soggs, MA, CCLS, discusses managing grief during difficult times of year, especially the holiday season.


Welcome to “That’s a Hard No” – the podcast about saying no and setting boundaries so you can become the authentic and empowered you that this world needs.

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This holiday miniseries is meant to cover topics that can support us and help us create welcoming and safe holidays for all of our loved ones. In this episode with Beverly Soggs, Certified Child Life Specialist and Grief Educator with over 15 years of experience supporting children and families, we discuss managing grief during the holidays.

So I think this is so important and I want to start off by saying: you know for anybody who is going through grief, no matter what phase they are in their grief. However you are coping today is wonderful. There’s just no judgment.

  • Honor Your Feelings
    • Now more than ever you must listen to your feelings. This can include opting out of certain traditions, staying home, etc.
    • Sit with yourself and take in your emotions and respect your own thoughts.
    • Give yourself grace – something might feel unbearable at first and you change your mind last minute, that is ok.
    • Don’t feel the need to recover quickly – there is no right timeline.
    • You don’t have to meet others’ expectations.
  • Honor Your Body
    • While our feelings are very important, another thing to remember is our body. We feel grief in our body, and we have to take care of it.
    • We hold stress tightly, try to be aware of where you are holding tension.
    • Make sure you are caring for and nourishing your body during this time.
    • Sometimes grief needs to move and often sleep is forgotten.
  • Finding Comfort
    • Reach out to others who will listen without trying to fix or change the situation. Your best support is someone who can just make you feel heard.
    • Journaling – writing out your feelings.
    • Accessing Therapy
  • How to Support Others in Grief
    • Don’t try to fix the problem, listen with an open mind and heart.
    • Recognize that grief has no timeline. One year or one month later, loss can feel extremely difficult no matter the timeline.
    • Ask what could specifically help – making dinner, decorating when they feel they can’t, etc.

Embrace the joy when it comes, and if it feels right to you. For somebody, they may be saying ‘I could just do without the whole thing this year’ and for someone else it may make them feel really good, and so there’s no guilt in that.

  • Honor Your Loved One
    • It’s fair to honor your loved one (no matter the time of grief) during the holidays. There are many options such as:
      • Lighting a candle at family gatherings
      • Toasting to them
      • Having a memorial ceremony
      • Visiting their grave site/spreading ashes
      • Writing down memories or stories
      • Cook their favorite meal
  • Grief is Not Linear
    • Many things may trigger grief – some through our senses – and others can be milestone life moments.
    • Grief can also change according to who you lost, depending on your relationship with them, if it was complicated, if it wasn’t in good standing.
      • Remember the circumstances of your relationship don’t change how deeply you may struggle.
Where to Find Beverly Soggs, MA, CCLS
Credits and Thanks