Question: Why Does the Idea of the New Year Hurt So Much?

Answer: Because you are carrying a new weight.

Mandy Capehart
Ask A Grief Coach
Published in
3 min readDec 30, 2021


Ask a Grief Coach is an online column to address commonly received questions in private work with my clients. All names are kept anonymous, and the questions are shared with permission. As you read, keep the context of your own story in mind. No answers found here will apply directly to your circumstance because your grief is unique to you. However, the hope is that you will find tools and tips of support, whether you are the griever or the supporter.

Dear Mandy,
I know the holidays are harder when you’re grieving. That’s nothing new. What I don’t get is why the basic idea of a new year is so painful! It’s barely a holiday, although sometimes we will gather with friends for a quiet evening. But it doesn’t feel particularly festive or celebratory. I don’t really care about resolutions, and yet I still feel sharp pains at the thought of even acknowledging the new year. What is this?


New Year’s Grief

Photo by Moritz Knöringer on Unsplash

Dear New Year’s Grief,
You’ve asked a question that so many of us have but don’t know how to put into words. The grief triggered by New Year’s Eve and resolutions and annual planning doesn’t seem rational. Then again, grief rarely is.

You are preparing (externally) to enter into a new calendar year and have likely been raised to believe the best about that year. To have hopes, dreams, and the best intentions set you on a path toward success.

But now, you’re grieving. Your grief is likely heavier than you expected through the holidays, and as you approach the new year, you’re aware that each of those hopes, dreams, and intentions is now going to be built on a foundation that lacks the person or dream that you’ve lost.

Grief changes who we are today and who we are able to become in the future. The memories you’ll make upon achieving those goals and intentions are now going to be built without that person in the story. They don’t get to join you.

These little moments of secondary grief pop up when you least expect it (like when trying to set a resolution) and they deserve just as much attention and care as the initial grief event. But becoming aware of secondary losses makes them much more approachable and easy to understand when they arise. Well done noticing the difference in how you feel and finding a way to ask this question.

With hopeful expectation for your future,


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Mandy Capehart is an author, small business owner, editor, certified grief and life coach, and creator of The Restorative Grief Project. The Restorative Grief Project is an online community focusing on one another’s stories and new methodologies for grief, creating a safe environment for our souls to heal and our spirits to be revived. To learn more, visit or follow her on Twitter. She thinks she is pretty funny. The jury is out.



Mandy Capehart
Ask A Grief Coach

Writing about grief, beliefs, & psych/mindfulness. Author, Trauma-informed Certified Grief Educator & Master Mindset Coach. Somatic embodiment Practitioner.