HOUSTON (KIAH) – For millions of Americans, this holiday season will be their first after the death of a loved one, and a particularly painful milestone.

Psychologist Kenleigh McMinn, PhD, shared it’s important to be prepared because the first year can be especially tough. She tells her patients rather than putting on a brave face, she recommended reaching out to others to let them know you’re struggling and also find ways to honor and remember your loved one.

“Whether that’s, you know, continuing a tradition that you would always engage in with that person or making a certain dish that you know that person would love. And just taking time to acknowledge and say out loud that person’s name, maybe share some memories of them, share that you’re missing them because that can also be a way to kind of get support from those around you and know that you’re not alone in the fact that you’re grieving,” said Dr. Kenleigh McMinn, Baylor Scott & White Health.

Furthermore, she reminds patients to make sure they stick to the parts of their routine that help them cope – like exercising or getting enough rest.