How to Deal With Grief and Loss During Holidays and Special Occasions

Holidays and special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries may be a time when you get together with family and friends. Often, if you’ve lost someone you love, you might be reminded that this person isn’t around. This can be hard and each person will cope with this differently. Here are some ideas that may help you better manage these special occasions:

Plan for the day. Treat the anniversary or special occasion in the same way as you do other important days. Talk with your family and friends about the best way to remember your loved one.

Allow yourself to be sad. It’s normal to feel sad that this person is no longer with you.

Talk to someone. Talk to someone you feel comfortable with, like a friend, family member, teacher, or counselor, can be a great way of expressing your feelings. You can also get information on local mental health professionals from your medical doctor. If you need to talk to someone immediately, you can call the Boys Town National Hotline (1-800-448-3000) where trained volunteers are available 24/7 to listen to your concerns.

Avoid bottling stuff up. Getting stuff off your chest is important. You may want to talk to someone, write your thoughts down, draw, cry, or punch some pillows. Check out the Express yourself fact sheet for more ideas about how to get stuff off your chest.

Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at, a website that helps teens get through tough times. 

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