Why we grieve before year’s end and what to do about it

December 15, 2023

It’s so hard to accept everything that’s happened in the last three years!”

“2019 feels like a lifetime ago.”

“How is it almost 2024 already?”

We hear these things repeated by colleagues, friends, family members and folks at the grocery store in the checkout line. Did you know they are just a few expressions of grief? Grief is considered a deep sorrow, often for someone’s death, but it can apply to so many other personal, professional, community and global losses we experience.

Another definition of grief is “trouble or annoyance.” This is no coincidence, as grief often feels like a hindrance, a personal fault or just troubling in its own right. Living with grief is not easy, but we all do it, every day. From the news constantly flooding our feeds to unprecedented deaths from COVID-19, it’s no wonder the world is in a state of grief.

In the winter months, grief often rears its head. The combination of less sunlight, staying indoors, pressure from holidays and family time, increased workload, anniversaries of loved ones’ deaths, or just their memory surrounding us as another year closes.

So what can we do to manage and even embrace grief rather than try to combat it?

  • Recognize it.
    • Acknowledging grief’s presence in our lives.
  • Name it.
    • Writing it down in a journal or a text to a friend, identifying the source of the grief.
  • Make new traditions.
    • Developing fresh customs and rituals in the winter months for yourself, your loved ones or your community.
  • Maintain routines.
    • Embracing grief while keeping steady and continuing to do the things that bring you joy.
  • Plan for the end of life.
    • Talking to your loved ones to alleviate stress and anxiety surrounding your own healthcare journey and life’s end.
      • Some resources from Compassion & Choices include:
        • The End-of-Life Decision Guide & Toolkit
          • candc.link/toolkit
        • Free Will
          • freewill.com

Compassion & Choices
Media Contacts

Sean Crowley
Media Relations Director
[email protected]

Patricia A. González-Portillo
National Latino Media Director
[email protected]
(323) 819 0310

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