Judith Zucker, LCSW
Grieving in a New Year
For many of us grieving a loss, the idea of a new year is severely unwanted. We feel extremely apprehensive, daunted by the unknown milestones ahead, longing to navigate the challenges of life without our loved one. We face discouragement, disheartened by our own grieving process, wishing we didn’t have to face the pain of loss.
We ache for the memories of the past with our loved one, and a new year represents an uncomfortable passage of time without them.
Ushering in a new year will be different for those of us who are grieving. Whether this marks your first year or it is one of many years without your loved one, honor your feelings of loss and create the space you need to grieve during this season.
Offer yourself kindness, and allow for vulnerability in your life. Embrace the profound and pervasive feelings accompanying you as you enter into a new year. It is okay to acknowledge that your life – and your identity – is changing.
Resisting our feelings prevents gradual healing and hardens us in our relationships with others.
Release the expectations you are carrying for your grieving process. While grief transforms us when it touches our lives, you do not need to move on from your loved one or let go of your cherished memories. The feelings you are encountering as you grieve are natural, and part of the individual process that we all experience with loss.
As a new year arrives, consider treating yourself with gentleness and compassion, and try following these few tips:
Accept where you are in your grieving process and avoid comparing yourself to others who are grieving.
Courageously reflect on the past year, noting the pain, the challenges, and the joys in your life.
Communicate your feelings with your family and friends. Surround yourself with those in your life who are supporting you in the grieving process.
Practice self-care: a well-balanced diet, adequate rest, appropriate exercise, connection with nature, and mindfulness.
Give yourself permission to observe the new year in the way that best suits your emotional capacity: participate in family or community traditions, modify or adjust traditions as you see fit, or determine if you need time apart from your traditional activities.
Take one day at a time.
No one should face grief and loss alone. If you are looking for support, reach out. I am here for you.
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