If you have lost a pet recently or even some time ago, the holidays can be a difficult time. There are several reasons for this, including the following:
- there may be a renewed sense of grief
- often there are expectations from others to celebrate when you don’t feel like it
- a sense of loneliness and an increased sense of loss
- pressure to be social
- the holidays are focused on family and close relationships
There are some things that you can do to help you deal with this stressful time. You can honour your pet in a new way, and create meaning around the loss. Some ideas are: put a new ornament up for your pet, buy a plant/plant a tree for him or her, make a photobook or scrapbook, go to a spot that was a favorite for you both, make a donation in your pet’s memory, spend time with shelter animals, or have a portrait or piece of jewellery made.
Other points to remember are to focus on self-care and boundaries. This is important when you are grieving or feeling overwhelmed. Some ways to do this include:
- talk to supportive people
- focus on eating well and getting adequate sleep
- only do what feels right
- share happy memories
- be patient with yourself
- know that it’s ok to say no
- participate in comforting activities
However you decide to spend the holidays, make sure you are doing what feels right for you. Grief can take some time to resolve, and each person grieves in their own individual way. It will take as long as it takes, so be patient with yourself.