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In The Newsroom

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November 12, 2008

CONTACT: Melissa DelaCalzada

                    San Diego Hospice
                    619-278-6139 or mdelacalzada@sdhospice.org

Ten Tips For Coping With Grief and Loss During the Holidays

Tips Provided by San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine


San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine offers the following tips for coping with grief and loss during the upcoming holiday season:

1. Take care of yourself.
You are of little value to your family and friends if you are not well rested and taking care of yourself first and foremost.

2. Find a way to acknowledge the person you have lost.
Rather than avoiding the feelings, find a way to remember and acknowledge the person that is meaningful and positive.

3. Incorporate memories or stories about the person into your family traditions.
Remember your friend or family member’s role in holiday traditions and share those memories.

4. Find new traditions that honor those who are no longer here.

Consider incorporating a new tradition such as a special decoration or moment of reflection in memory of the person who has died.

5. Plan ahead.
Think ahead about what events will be especially emotional for you this holiday season and evaluate what will best ease that pain whether it be surrounding yourself with family or excusing yourself for a private moment.

6. Take one day at a time.
Focus on today and the experience at hand.

7. Don’t be afraid to make changes.
Sometimes old traditions or routines can be too painful without important people present. Try something new this holiday season. Consider going somewhere different or changing your traditional holiday menu.

8. Do what you can.
Do only what is special and meaningful to you this year. Be brave enough to say no, and be realistic enough to cancel plans when you change your mind.

9. Ask for help.
Ask for and accept offers of concrete assistance with holiday chores like decorating, shopping, cooking or cleaning. Look for ways to involve other people in your holiday planning. 

10. Speak to someone outside the family,
Organizations like the Center for Grief Care and Education at San Diego Hospice are ready to be of assistance: call (619) 278-6480 or email griefinfo@sdhospice.org.

One way to pay tribute to the memory of a loved one is through San Diego Hospice’s Light Up A Life celebration. The event will be held on Tuesday, December 9 at 8 p.m. at the Civic Theatre in downtown San Diego. Music will be provided by the San Diego Symphony. Participants can also sponsor a light in memory or in honor of a loved one and proceeds benefit San Diego Hospice programs. Admission is free. More information is online at www.sdhospice.org or by calling 619-688-1600.

About San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine

San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine (www.sdhospice.org), a leader in the relief of suffering, is one of the 10 largest community-owned, not-for-profit hospices in the country, with the largest resource in the world for training palliative medicine physicians and other specialists. The organization brings compassionate, expert medical care to more than 1,000 seriously ill adults and children each day throughout San Diego County. In addition, The Center for Grief Care and Education at San Diego Hospice assists more than 11,000 individuals, experiencing grief and loss, with support, counseling and guidance each year. More information is available online at www.sdhospice.org or call toll-free at 1-866-688-1600.

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