The season to be merry is upon us but for many the holidays from Thanksgiving to New Years are anything but merry.

Shawn Michaels, Townsquare Media

That's because the mass marketing strategy showing happy families gathering for festive occasions serves as a trigger for those who've lost loved ones, according to Barnabas Health Van Dyke Hospice Bereavement Coordinator Kathy Brommeland.

"So there's like sensory overload with holiday memories", explains Brommeland. "It's just a constant reminder for two months that somebody is missing in their life."

Brommeland advises individuals prone to holiday sadness not to go it alone and to join a support group. "I think it's really important not to be home alone. Don't isolate. Because when you're only with your own thoughts you kind of spin your wheels, she explains."

The Van Dyke Hospice and Palliative Care Center is hosting a series of bereavement workshops in Toms River titled, "Grief Share: Surviving the Holidays." Brommeland said it's a video series program that speaks about some of the issues that people might face during the holidays. According to the center's press release: participants will learn about the nature of grief, identify coping strategies and develop concrete methods to manage the holiday season. They also break up into small group discussions.

Registration is required and they request a $5 dollar donation but it's not required. To register or to get more information call 732-818-6826 or email Kathy Brommeland at

The workshops have begun with three scheduled until December 3rd. A workshop runs today, Monday, November 18th from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, November 23; 10 a.m. to noon and Tuesday, December 3rd; from 10 a.m. to noon.