Stepping Into the New Year

Friday, 31 December 2021

If you have lost a loved one, starting the New Year without them can be challenging. No matter how we move into the New Year, we carry with us remnants of the past year, it’s a painful reminder of the loved one who isn’t here to enter a new year with you.

Grief has no respect for a new year full of possibilities. Grief is  a constant reminder, no matter what year, of losses that change us forever. Facing your first New Years without someone you love can be a very daunting and lonely time. You may have no inclination or energy to ‘pretend’ that you are looking forward to New Years when truth is you wish things were how they were last year – when you were still together with your loved one.

Longing to recover the past can sometimes make us resistant to accepting the new year. The past was where we were comfortable, where we felt safe, felt good. Grief burdens us today and we fear the new year won’t hold anything different for us. We long for the person we miss and the precious past we shared. We think about how it was, and wish we were back there.

New Year’s Eve is usually a time of reflection on the past year and looking forward to the next. However, when grieving, the last thing we want to do is let go and move forward without someone we love. No matter who much time has passed since your loss, the holiday season can be a difficult.

Tips to face the new year:

  • Go easy on yourself. Don’t place expectations on yourself that you may not be able to live up to, don’t pressure yourself or allow others to pressure you into feeling like you should be ‘over’ the loss.
  • Give yourself a mental rest. Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations about yourself, and soothe yourself with music, uplifting literature, tears, and laughter.
  • Talk with friends and family member who can share memories
  • Seek formal support: Please see services available below

You may never be “over it”, despite feeling a pressure to flick the switch at midnight on December 31. Recognising that grief runs on its own personal calendar will help you separate New Year’s celebrations from your own journey.

As you courageously work through grief over time, you eventually will find the strength to look to the new year with interest and wonder about what it might hold. Maybe you’ll feel eager to welcome change now that your grief has started to ease.

Hopefully this will help you accept the calendar ticking over, as it will continue to do while you heal.

Please see the resources below for support during the holidays or see our Grief Support page for more.


Services Available During the Holiday Season

  • Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement: 1800 642 066
  • Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 –
  • Carers Australia: 1800 242 636
  • Government Social Worker: 132 850
  • Lifeline (24/7): 1800 55 1800
  • Kids Helpline (24/7): 1800 55 1800
  • Parentline: 1300 30 1300
  • Mensline (24/7): 1300 78 99 78
  • Sids and Kids Bereavement Support Line: for parents who have lost a child (24/7): 1300 308 307