Mental health professional gives tips on holiday grief amid pandemic

JACKSON, Tenn. — Every year around the holidays, people mourn the loss of a loved one.

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This year, their grieving process may be different because of the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic may add a layer of stress for some because it forces many into isolation.

“They miss that loved one everyday, and then when the holidays come around, it’s one of those special times you get to share with that loved one,” Pepper Pratt, Ph.D., said.

Losing a loved one is hard enough, but having an empty seat at the table during Thanksgiving or Christmas can be even harder.

“The holidays are usually the time you wind up seeing them, so it’s extra noticeable,” Pratt said.

Pepper Pratt with The Pratt Clinic says people spending the holidays alone because of the pandemic makes it even harder for some.

“To add grief on top of that and be deprived around being around some of the people who may be life-giving and offer comfort to us during the holidays, that raises the stress level considerably,” Pratt said.

He advises those who are grieving to practice self-care, not to isolate too much, and to find other ways to still connect with people outside of large gatherings.

“Having some common sense around all of that, and being able to be with people in smaller groups, I think is ideal,” Pratt said.

“Have some group gatherings virtually, and be able to say ‘hello’ to people in real-time and live, even if it’s over a computer screen, it’s better than not seeing anyone at all,” Pratt said.

He also suggested having a ceremony for that loved one, whether it’s lighting a candle in their memory, or hanging a stocking for them.

“There are ways to remember people and honor people that can feel like you’ve been able to do something, even when you may not be around a large gathering of family,” Pratt said.

If you know someone who is grieving, Pratt suggests planning a time to check in with the person to see if they need anything.

Categories: Coping, Local News, News
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