Managing grief or sickness at Christmas

If you’re missing someone or coping with a sick family member – here is some advice to help you get through

Mental health and wellbeingFriends and relationships
By VoiceBox ·


For young people, by young people.

Managing grief or sickness at Christmas

Christmas, for many, revolves around friends and family. After all, it’s the period to be thankful for the people in our lives, the ones who lift us up and make us feel whole.

But it’s easy to forget that lots of people will be dealing with grief, sickness and loneliness during the holidays. If you’re missing someone, coping with a sick family member, or simply feel isolated and alone – here is some advice to help you cope.

Reach out 

It may sound easier said than done, but reaching out to a friend, family member or charity to talk about how you're feeling could help ease any pain you’re feeling. That cliche phrase “a problem shared is a problem halved” is genuinely true, and might help you feel better. 


If you feel ready to, why not revisit some happy memories that you have with the person you’re grieving. You could do this while with other family members and friends, or write them down in your own time. 


Speaking to one of our young people who was dealing with a sick parent helped us understand that sometimes it can be good to laugh.

“Illnesses are funny”, she explained. “I mean there’s obviously a time and a place and it’s certainly not for everyone, but we do have a laugh with my mum about her problems. Her symptoms can genuinely be humorous, and it helps take the stress out of what she’s going through.”

Plan in advance

Reaching the peak of the Christmas period and struggling with things to do can affect your mental health and might cause feelings of loneliness. Planning your days in advance can help fill your time with festive things to do. Why not pick out some Christmas TV shows and films, buy your favourite snacks and explore different board games? 

And if you know someone who’s struggling?

If you know someone who may be struggling this Christmas – regardless of whether you celebrate it or not – make sure to reach out and ask them how they are. Offer up your time to talk about the person they are grieving, whether over video call or in person. You’ll find that a simple chat can go a very long way.

If you are having any thoughts of harming yourself, make sure to reach out to a suicide hotline in your country.

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