It’s that bittersweet time of year again – it’s really crept up on us this year hasn’t it? Is there is an emotional battle going on in your mind where part of you desperately wants to be jolly, and the other part of you is so desperately sad?


You could be going through Christmas Grief.


Christmas is one of those seasons that is forced upon us earlier and earlier in the year. Just as the Halloween stuff is cleared away, we start hearing the cheerful chimes of jingle bells and the shop windows start twinkling with festivity. For some people, this is a very exciting time of year, but for those who are not feeling the Christmas spirit, this can feel like a very lonely and depressing time indeed. If you are one of those people who secretly dread Christmas, want to hide under the duvet, press the fast forward button and get it over and done with as quickly as possible – don’t worry, you may be going through Christmas Grief, and I have 3 tips for you to cope with this difficult time.
Christmas poinsettia

Tip 1 – Turn the Grief into a Gift

Let me give you an example of what I mean. My mum passed away a few years ago just before Christmas and she used to love the Christmas plant poinsettia. She used to buy one for everyone in the family and this would be her Christmas ritual. In the Christmasses after she had died, every time I saw a poinsettia plant in somebody’s home, or in the shops, supermarkets or even on TV, I would absolutely breakdown with overwhelming sadness and my grief would take over. I didn’t ever want to see another poinsettia again because the memory hurt me so much. This year,  I decided to do something different. I knew that the poinsettia was my trigger for grief, so instead of resisting my grief, I decided to think about how I could embrace it. I asked myself to imagine what it would feel like if I were to look forward to the poinsettias coming out in the shops. With the intention to carry on my mum’s ritual. So, that’s what I did. When they came out in the shops, I found some excitement arising in me – which was an interesting switch. I then started to buy them for my friends and family as gifts – just like my mother had done, to keep her tradition going. This small gesture started to make me feel better and I’m sure it will help me and my family to remember my mum with fondness with every gift of that poinsettia that I give. I have somehow been able to turn my grief into a gift, and this year, the poinsettias have made me smile. This year, it will be 10 years since I became an orphan, and I have made a very conscious decision to enjoy every moment of Christmas as my parents and beloved Grandma would want me to. I feel it’s taken me 10 years to gracefully accept living with my loss, and now that I have gracefully embraced it, it does feels liberating and I do honestly feel very grateful to be alive, and that to me is a nice feeling to celebrate.


Have you ever felt alone in a crowded room message

Tip 2 – Remember: You Are Not Alone

Do you feel alone in a crowded room? Our mind can trick us into feeling desperately lonely and isolated. We may feel that we are the only one suffering in silence and that everyone we know are busy having fun being festive and jolly themselves. This is not necessarily true. Quite often, we can be fooled by the glossiness of the shop windows, magazine covers and social media profiles. The last two years through the pandemic have been incredibly difficult and tough for us all in so many different ways. We have all faced our own versions of loss and grief. There is still so much change and uncertainty around us, and this is extremely unsettling. It’s really important to be mindful about the content we are consuming, and the triggers that may be around us. This is a good time to surround ourselves with like-minded, supporting and kind people. It’s a good time to reach out, and allow people to reach out to us. It’s so important to remember that you do have friends, colleagues, family members or kind people in your world. So, when you may be feeling extra vulnerable and prone to feeling low, begin by acknowledging that this is a difficult time for you, and perhaps start to explain this to those around you. I don’t mean wallow, I mean gently reach out to friends and family around you and tell them that you find this time of year hard, and you will then be taking control of your feelings of loneliness. You will find that you are most definitely not alone, and that this feeling of loneliness is very, very common.  As you reach out through your loneliness, others who feel this way will connect to you and you will be helping someone else too. The way to help loneliness is to make friends with it.



Dipti Tait with her book 'Planet Grief'

Tip 3 – Read my books!

I wrote my first book Good Grief to help myself cope with my own loss of both my parents and grandmother, as well as dealing with a lot of change I was going through in my life at that time – the end of my 15 year marriage, divorce, leaving my family unit, moving away from my home town and becoming a single parent.

The book started off as my own grief diary, and then I realised that there was a lot of powerful stuff in the words I was writing, so I wanted to be able to share my words so I could help others cope with their own grief.

Grief is a cocktail of emotions, and these emotions feel very uncomfortable, so I wanted to honour the emotions that make up grief, so I could learn to be with them, understand them and then also be able to cope with them.

I wrote Planet Grief five years later, because I wanted to continue helping people deal with significant loss and unexpected change, especially within our changing world through the pandemic. I believe we are all grieving in life, not just in death. My hope is that by reading Planet Grief it will help you remember you are not alone, as well as teach you how to turn your pain into power and your grief into fuel.

By Dipti Tait