November 21, 2017
The holidays can be a challenging time for trauma survivors. Traumatic experiences are those that overwhelm a person’s regular capacity to cope and process the situation. Trauma responses can leave you feeling, thinking, or reacting in ways that feel out of your control. If you’re experiencing or recovering from abuse or violence, know that these experiences can be traumatic.
Holiday traditions and gatherings can bring uncomfortable reminders of a bad experience, or bring up memories of a more peaceful time, which can be upsetting. You may not feel as cheerful or happy as others expect you to be, or as you feel like you should.
Here are some tips for dealing with trauma during the holidays
- If you’re in someone else’s home or hosting others in yours, it can be hard to feel in control of your environment. Think of places you can go to take a break when you need it.
- You might feel obligated to be with people or be in places that you’d rather not. Consider setting a time limit for these interactions, or making other plans if it’s going to be too much—you have a choice.
- Think about the things you can decide for yourself, and use those as sources of comfort. This could include wearing certain clothes, listening to favorite music, or finding time for relaxing activities.
- If you have a loved one who is aware of your concerns and who will be around, ask them to stay aware and help you manage the situation. They can help cover for you if you need to step away or help change the subject if something is upsetting.
- Consider starting a new tradition or activity (with yourself or with others) that is comfortable and enjoyable to you.
Finally, please know you are not alone. If you need to talk, we’re here to listen. Give us a call.
Safe Horizon’s Hotlines operate 24 hours a day, even on holidays. Your call is confidential. Whether you’re in an extreme situation or you’re unsure if your experience constitutes abuse, violence, or crime, we’re here to help.