Mental Health Matters: Navigating the Christmas Season
The holiday season is often associated with joy and celebration, but it can be challenging for many people, especially when it comes to mental health. As the festive spirit fills the air, it’s important to recognise and address stressors that the Christmas season can bring.
Here are some strategies to navigate the holiday season while prioritising mental well-being:
Set realistic expectations
People tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves over the Christmas season, trying to make everything from decorations to Christmas dinner picture perfect. It’s important to remember that perfection is not the goal - only that a good time is had by all. Set realistic expectations for yourself and others, and remember that it’s fine if things don’t go exactly as planned - they rarely do.
The festive season often involves many gatherings and social events, which can be overwhelming for some. It’s important to establish and communicate boundaries to ensure you prioritise your mental health. It’s fine to decline invitations and take breaks when needed - don’t burn yourself out trying to please everyone.
Christmas can put a strain on your finances, contributing to stress. Gift giving, decorating the house, buying festive food, and the many social gatherings at this time of year can all add to financial stress. Create a budget and stick to it - remember, it’s the thought that counts when it comes to gift giving. Focus on meaningful gifts rather than expensive ones.
Supporting Children through Grief: A Parent's Guide
Grief is a natural and complex emotion that we all experience at some point in our lives. When children face loss, whether it’s the death of a loved one, the divorce of their parents, or another significant change, they too must navigate the challenging journey of grief. Parents can help to provide comfort and support during these difficult times.
Here are some ways you can help your child cope with their grief:
It’s crucial to maintain open and honest conversation with your child, especially when they are grieving. Create a safe space where they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings, and encourage them to ask questions and express their emotions. Let them know it’s OK to feel sad, angry, confused, or numb; grief is often a rollercoaster of emotions, and it’s important they know this is normal.
Your approach to conversations about grief will differ based on your child’s age and developmental stage. Make sure to use age-appropriate language and concepts to explain the situation. Younger children may not grasp the permanence of death, while teenagers might have a better understanding.
Children find comfort in routines and stability. Try to maintain their daily routines as much as possible, to help provide a sense of normalcy during a turbulent time. However, they may need breaks or time off from regular activities, so be flexible and understanding with them on these occasions.
Encourage creative expression
It can sometimes be difficult to express our emotions, especially for children. Encourage them to participate in creative activities such as drawing, writing or painting to help them express their emotions and process their grief.
Healing takes time; there is no set timeline for how long grief should last. Be patient with your child and with yourself during the process of grief.
Remember their loved one
Help your child keep the memory of their loved one alive by sharing stories, looking at pictures, or creating a memory box together. This can be a meaningful way to honour and remember the person they lost, and will help in the grieving process.
Seek professional help
If your child’s grief seems particularly intense or prolonged, consider seeking the help of a professional therapist who specialises in child grief. They can provide the necessary guidance and support your child might need.
As a parent, it’s important to take care of yourself too. You’ll be better able to support your child through their grief if you’re emotionally and physically well. Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family or a therapist for yourself as well.
It can be challenging to support a grieving child, but it’s an important aspect of helping them navigate the complex emotions associated with loss. Your love, understanding and support will help them to heal and find their way through their grief. Remember that you do not have to go through this process alone; you can seek support from friends, family and professionals if needed.
Thank you for reading.
Take a look through our previous blogs here.
National Grief Awareness Week 2023
National Grief Awareness Week 2023 takes place from 2nd December to 8th December this year. It offers us the opportunity to acknowledge, validate, and understand the profound impact that grief has on our lives. Grief can manifest in countless ways, whether the loss of a loved one, a job, a relationship, health, or a way of life, and affects us all differently.
Charity Spotlight: Mind
If you haven’t had a chance to visit our special Christmas Memorial Wall for 2023, then click here to have a look at the hundreds of tributes that have already come in. We know that grief doesn't just affect you at special occasions, but they can sometimes highlight a person's absence and make it harder, which is why we created the Christmas Memorial Wall as an outlet for people's love and loss over the festive season.
Across the 2021 and 2022 Christmas Memorial Walls, we received over 13,000 tributes from people who are thinking about their loved ones at Christmas time, and so this year we decided to add a charity to our Memorial Wall, to give visitors another way of remembering those they are missing, as well as raising vital funds for a worthy cause.
With one in four people suffering from a mental health condition, and especially at this time of year when it can be extra difficult to cope, we decided to raise money for Mind.
Autumn Anxiety: Recognizing and Managing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Autumn Anxiety is a term that’s new to me, but one that makes so much sense. As many people were looking forward to Autumn, with cosy nights at home in front of the fire, I was busy thinking of ways to force myself to get outside so that I don’t start to feel cooped up at home all day.
But is that all it is, or is there more to it than that?
Top 10 Funeral Songs in 2023
Earlier in the year, Co-op Funeralcare released their 2023 Funeral Music Chart, something which they have now been compiling for over 20 years.
In this most recent top ten, we see a lot of the usual suspects such as ‘My Way’ and ‘We’ll Meet Again’, but for the first time in over seven years we see two hymns entering back into the chart. This is presumed to be due to the recent royal funerals that have influenced a return to tradition.
Also, proving just how passionate football fans can be, we have ‘You'll Never Walk Alone’ by Gerry and The Peacemakers in at number seven, a song that is synonymous with Liverpool FC.
Here’s the top 10 in full:
1. Time to Say Goodbye by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli
2. My Way by Frank Sinatra
3. Supermarket Flowers by Ed Sheeran
4. Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler
5. We'll Meet Again by Vera Lynn
6. Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Eva Cassidy
7. You'll Never Walk Alone by Gerry and The Peacemakers
8. All Things Bright and Beautiful - Hymn
9. Abide With Me - Hymn
10. Dancing In The Sky by Dani and Lizzy
Making the most of the autumn season
Autumn, with its crisp air, colourful leaves, and cosy vibes, is a season that never fails to captivate our senses. As the days grow shorter and the temperature drops, there are countless ways to make the most of this enchanting season.
Get out in nature
Make the most of the changing landscape by going for walks or hikes through the countryside, take a trip to a nearby patch of woodland, or just have a stroll around your local park. Explore the changing trees and their vibrant colours, feel the crunch of leaves underfoot, and make sure to wrap up against the cold in a cosy hat, scarf and winter coat. You could even make it into a day out by packing an autumn themed picnic, along with a flask of something hot to drink.
Enjoy warm drinks
As the temperature cools, autumn is the perfect time to savour hot drinks. Seasonal flavours such as pumpkin spice, apple cider, and hot chocolate are abundant this time of year, so head to your local coffee shop to see what they have on offer, or try your hand at making the drinks yourself at home. Spiced teas are also lovely and warming as the weather turns colder.
2023 Christmas Memorial Wall
Christmas is around the corner again and whilst a period of celebration for many, it can also be a reminder of those we have lost over the years. This week sees Funeral Notices launch their Christmas Memorial Wall for 2023. The virtual tribute page is designed to allow people to share photographs, memories, light virtual candles and pay tribute to their loved ones, whose loss is particularly poignant during the festive season.
The History of Mourning: From Victorian Mourning Customs to Today
Mourning is a deeply ingrained human response to loss, and the customs and practices associated with it have evolved significantly over time. Mourning in the Victorian era was strict, with certain rules and rituals that had to be followed, whereas in modern time mourning tends to be much more relaxed and flexible. Today, we’ll have a look at the key differences between mourning in Victorian times and mourning in contemporary society.
A November to Remember
November always starts with a bang in the UK, quite literally as we have just seen on 5th November with Bonfire night, then it tends to hit a bit of a lull as the rest of the month is spent prepping for Christmas, but we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to.
Here are just a few of the things you could get up to in November!