01 Oct  

Seasonal Sadness and Grief: Ways to Cope

From Hanukkah to Thanksgiving and New Year’s, we are in the middle of not only major holidays but also the changing of the seasons with colder weather, grayer skies and shorter days. Combining holiday stress, seasonal mood changes and grief, can be a challenging mental strain to cope with every day.

In addition, we can feel pressured to “get over our grief” and “move on” with festival holiday events and gatherings, adding to our downward spiral. During holidays is when we especially miss our loved ones though and such holiday times can intensify our mourning and deepen our sadness.

Here are some ways to deal with seasonal sadness and grief at the same time:

  1. When your family gathers, remember your loved one by creating a favorite dish of theirs and reminisce over shared memories.
  2. Get outside in nature for a walk, hike or bike ride. Physical activity, fresh air and sunshine can boost your spirits.
  3. If you can’t get outside, try light therapy with a light box device to help make up for missing out on sunlight. However, always check with your doctor before trying any kind of treatment options.
  4. Express your feelings through journaling. Sometimes putting feelings to paper can help figure out what you’re feeling and to put an action plan in place to cope.
  5. Create a memento of your loved one to remember them by that helps you feel close to them. One way is to create a quilt out of some of their special clothes.
  6. Shopping during the holidays can add to anxiety and feeling overwhelmed. Do your shopping online to avoid the crowds or ask if others can help with specific shopping duties.
  7. Surround yourself with supportive and caring people you can call on when you’re feeling sad.
  8. Invite your family to participate in a favorite holiday activity of your loved one.
  9. If you are a spiritual person, try drawing strength from your faith and faith-based community.
  10. Take up a new hobby or learn how to do something new you’ve always wanted to try. This can provide a renewed sense of purpose through positive focus to help pass the time.


The combination of seasonal changes and grief can heighten the symptoms they create but finding creative mechanisms to cope with them can help make life’s daily routine easier. If you’re seeking grief resources, visit our resource page of local support groups.

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