Experts offer advice for Oklahomans dealing with grief during holidays – Yahoo News
The holidays could be difficult this year for Oklahoma families spending the season without a loved one.
Many have lost relatives to COVID-19, which was the third-leading cause of death in Oklahoma so far this year, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.
The death toll has now risen over 12,000 in Oklahoma, and the state ranks only behind Alabama for COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 in during the first 11 months of 2021, according to Reuters.
At Calm Waters Center for Children and Families, which offers grief support in Oklahoma City, counselors are seeing almost double the number of families they were seeing last year, clinical and programs director Heather Warfield said.
COVID update: Omicron variant identified in Oklahoma, state health officials say
Christmas lights twinkle on trees Dec. 8 are along NW 16 in Oklahoma City.
“It’s definitely taking a toll on our community,” she said.
For Oklahomans grieving the loss of a loved one this year, experts offered tips and advice on coping through the holidays.
1. Plan ahead
The holidays may come with added pressure and anxieties for many, Warfield said. She suggested people grieving make a plan about what they can do and want to do during the holidays, and accept that it may look different from their usual holiday season.
“Maybe you don’t put up as many decorations,” she said. “Maybe you don’t go to all of the Christmas parties, all of the events. Maybe you pick and choose and decide for yourself, what am I able to do this year? What’s going to be the most meaningful for me and my family?”
2. Ask for help
This one is tough, Warfield said.
“We want to be independent. We want to function apart from others,” she said. “A lot of times that’s not what’s the most helpful for us.”
Whether it’s with cooking, cleaning, running errands, accepting help from others can be important when you’re grieving.
“They want to give it, and so it is OK to accept it,” she said.
Taking time for rest and self care is also important during the holidays.
“Self care does not always mean doing something,” Warfield said. “It sometimes means not doing something. Maybe it is, I’m going to rest, I’m going to let the dishes sit, because I need time to just relax and to cope and to process.”</…….