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Friday, December 27, 2013

PTSD & Holidays: 4 Tips on having a Positive Holidays

“Survival should be celebrated for your strength and resilience, not ignored or grieved.” 
~ Coach Bill

The days between Thanksgiving to New Year‘s day can the hardest for survivors of trauma to get through. Known as a time to be with family and love ones, often this period can be extremely triggering and threatening for many of those who have survived early abuse and trauma because it can cause remembrance of loss of childhood. The holiday season may significantly worsen emotional reactiveness and worsen PTSD symptoms.  During this season of what should be happy holidays, survivors often think that celebrating just does not seem right and don’t deserve to be joyful. But if you really think about it, in this season of gratitude and blessings, not to celebrate would be a dishonor the accomplishment of survival.

To be a healthier survivor, one needs a holiday mind shift. Consider this holiday season as a time of celebration of strength, resilience and personal power. Start a new chapter that includes good cheer, fun and laughter, rather than focusing on what happened in past seasons. Bestow honor upon yourself by establishing new memorable and worthwhile experiences in this season because everything that happens now is in your hands. Don’t reflect on the past pain, loss or even project into the future rather be joyous in the moment. Bask in a new light and renew the essence of who you are becoming.

Demonstrate your strength, resilience and personal power by decorating the inside and outside of the house so bright with lights and let the illumination shine into the heavens and say, “See! I am strong.”

There is no "right" way or wrong way to cope with what you have lost but rather start a new direction during this holiday season. There are some things you can do to adjust to this time.   

Here are 4 tips on how to have a positive holidays

  1. Be Open to Communicate:
Don’t hide from communicating about the person. He or she is still alive in the heart. Give yourself permission to communicate feelings and celebrate his or her life. That will give others the feeling of permission that they can share, as well.

  1. Start a new tradition:  
Start a new tradition of remembrances by writing down some of his or her quotes, wisdom, good qualities, stories, significant life experiences and place them in a box or stocking. This is wonderful way to celebrate the person.  It is also a way to "generate conversation in a comfortable way." 

  1. Reduce Expectations:
Don't put on undue pressure by stress by expecting too much results for the holidays. Also don’t respond to your inner critic which can be overly critical of all efforts. Over expecting to please or make everyone happy can put extreme stress and can by be a trigger that might cause flashbacks.

  1. Take Care of Yourself:
Lastly, do some self-care. Be sure to nurture yourself. This time of year can really deplete your energy and make ability to ward off PTSD symptoms. Be sure to exercise, sleep well, eat healthy, limit your alcohol intake and get plenty of sleep.

Take Away

Strongly consider this … PTSD symptoms can be triggered by over expecting to the point of disappointment. 

Rather you should experience your holidays in the moment, and you should creatively make new and positive memories to remember. 

Don't mourning or grief the time you lost in the past. Live your holidays with a positive mindset and focus on the moment each day at a time. Don't allow over expecting to ruin your holidays.

        Happy Holidays

         Coach Bill

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