Once Christmas had been done and dusted for another year, social media is full of people being relentlessly positive about the New Year. After the festive period, this time can also be particularly tough if a loved one has died recently.
New Year celebrations can seem additionally hard if you’ve established traditions over the years and have things you always do. While your friends and family might try to ‘jolly you along’, you might find it more comfortable to have a little quiet time.
However, you might want to include your loved one in your New Year celebrations in some way, perhaps by lighting a candle or even writing a letter to them. If you are with friends or family, you may find it comforting to share memories.
If you do feel under pressure to attend a New Year celebration, put a contingency plan in place. Either decline the ‘festive bubbles’ and drive yourself, so you know you can leave if you want to or ask somebody to be your ‘wing man’ and scoop you up if it gets too much. Be honest. Loved ones won’t mind if you tell them that you’ll spend an element of the evening with them but will then head home before midnight.
Alternatively, if you know you really don’t feel like celebrating at all, then don’t be afraid to tell people. Be kind to yourself and think about what you really like doing. Perhaps plan your time to include a favourite film and some snacks you enjoy. Then when New Year’s Day arrives, maybe go for a walk somewhere you both used to enjoy?
Christmas and the New Year are times when, as families, we make traditions. When a loved one has died, it can feel comforting to continue with these traditions. However, you could also make some new ones. Perhaps accept an invitation to stay with a friend and do something completely different.
It isn’t just about how to mark the New Year; this time of the year can feel like a new beginning and make grief even more raw when you realise you’re entering January without your loved one. It can be as if a line has been drawn under that period of your life.
Everyone seems busy making plans, setting goals and wishing each other a ‘Happy New Year’. A New Year can bring hope and, when you are grieving, it can feel hard to find hope. However, you could use this time to start making some small plans to navigate your new life. Perhaps there’s a hobby you’ve always wanted to try, maybe now’s the time to sign up for a course or join a club?
Of course, if the previous year was pretty awful, there could be a part of you that is actually a little be relieved to be putting it behind you – and you certainly shouldn’t feel guilty if that’s the case.
At this time of the year, our Bereavement Group members (the BG’s) are really wonderful at supporting each other over, as they all know the pain of not having that special person with them.
We hope you manage to navigate New Year in a way which works for you.