For those who lost loved ones this year, the holidays can be especially tough. A Novant Health behavioral health provider says there are some strategies that can make handling grief a little easier during this time of year though. 

Psychiatrist Dr. Andrew Farah says if you don't feel up to following your usual holiday traditions after you've lost someone, it's important to remember you don't have to. 

“If you're just not ready, you're not ready," says Farah. "If it's too acute, or too recent, it's probably better just to pretend it's another day. You don't have to celebrate a holiday if it's going to bring you more grief.”

If you do feel like celebrating, he suggests creating new traditions to honor the person you've lost. Focusing on a new activity, like volunteering, could be helpful too, he says. 

“It's a good coping strategy, you know, to keep your mind and body busy with something other than grief," says Farah. "And then that's one way to work through it. It gives you time and activity and purpose that is not in a negative vein, it's in a positive vein.”

Farah also recommends staying away from alcohol and sticking to a healthy exercise routine. 

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