Starting a New Year Following the Death of a Loved One

The beginning of a new year often finds us making plans and resolutions for the future. Often these resolutions focus on our health, our careers, or our overall well-being. We might resolve to lose a few pounds, to exercise more, or to pursue that next promotion. If you are facing the New Year in the aftermath of the loss of a loved one, however, these types of resolutions may have lost their luster. In fact, just imagining the coming year can be a source of anxiety and grief. However, there are ways to make it easier to weather.

A New Year of Memories, A New Challenge

The holidays were likely already an enormous emotional challenge, one that may have left you feeling depleted and empty. Now you are facing the prospect of creating an entire new year of memories that don’t include the one you’ve lost. This, of course, can be a painful thing to acknowledge. It’s important to be gentle with yourself through this process, and to recognize that it also has the potential to help you heal.

While the usual resolutions may fall flat for you right now, we’ve put together a list of a few resolutions that we believe you may find helpful during this difficult time.

New Year’s Resolutions for Those Struggling with Grief

These tips aren’t just helpful for the New Year—they’re helpful any time.

  • Don’t compare yourself to others, or to who you think you “should” be—in your grief, or any other aspect of your life. Our lives are journeys through which we can sometimes walk side by side and support one another; but they are ultimately each our own, individual journey. You are who you are meant to be, where you are meant to be.
  • Recognize that your needs right now may be different than they usually are. You may need more rest, or more time alone, than you usually do. You may need the opposite—more activity, more socializing. Now is a good time to get in touch with your own needs, which will also help you navigate the grieving process.
  • Allow yourself space to process the last year. It’s a new year; that doesn’t mean you have to be “done” processing the events of the prior year. Don’t focus only on your loss, either—take the time to revisit your positive memories as well, especially those that include the person you’re grieving.

If you or a loved one are experiencing grief and all of the challenges it brings, we encourage you to explore the rest of our site. The articles we share here can be an incredible resource for finding comfort, help, and understanding. And please, feel free to reach out, if there is something we can do to help.