For those who have a history of trauma, the holiday season can present difficult challenges. Holidays carry a full load of triggers, across the full range of our senses. Food, song, sight, family gatherings, and rituals associated with the holidays can trigger stress and difficult emotions.
If you have experienced childhood interpersonal trauma (C-PTSD), it may be that holidays mean spending time with the people who hurt you. If you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caused by a traumatic event such as exposure to military combat, car accident or natural disaster, sometimes the sheer chaos of the holidays (crowds in shopping malls, busy streets and entertainment areas) are enough to cause debilitating stress. Here are a few things to keep in mind that will help you through the holidays.
If you have difficult relationships with family members, remember you are allowed to set healthy boundaries with them. I use the word allowed because adult children of dysfunctional, abusive, or narcissistic parents often do not feel they have the right to say no. They have been raised in an environment where saying no as a child led to significant consequences. As an adult, however, it is crucial to learn to set limits on what others demand of you in order to cultivate healing and good mental health.
Have a Plan for Family Triggers:
If your family causes significant distress or creates conflict, have a plan that you can turn to if something happens to upset you. For example, make sure you have your own transportation if going to family events. Set limits on how much alcohol you drink. If your family has a tendency for conflict, take steps to remain in control of yourself by limiting your alcohol intake and setting healthy and firm boundaries.
If you are in conflict with your family or if your family has been abusive to you, it may be best to stay away. Make alternate plans to spend time with friends. If you have chosen not to spend time with family, it is important to find pleasurable things to do without them during the holidays. Connect with your faith organization if you have one. Volunteer to help those less fortunate than you. While holidays are portrayed as a time for family, there are many other options that are available for connecting with others.
Tips for Managing in Crowds:
If you are triggered by crowds, take this into consideration when you make plans. If possible, take measures to shop earlier to avoid crowds or shop online.
If you do find yourself unexpectedly in a crowded situation and you feel yourself beginning to panic or become fearful, practice deep breathing. Deep breathing is a fantastic all natural way to control your own autonomic nervous system. It’s as if you are manually shifting your nervous system into a lower gear.
Reach out for Support - The Holidays Can Be a Growth Season:
Many people find it very helpful to take time out of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season for a therapy session. It may be better to plan in advance before the rush of emotions associated with the holidays.
Working with a therapist during the holidays can be a great opportunity to learn coping skills and strategies for dealing with challenging situations. This is supposed to be a time for joy and happiness. Take the necessary steps to give yourself the best opportunity to make the most of your holiday season. It can be a time of growth as well as joy.
By Brian Nadon
Ginger-Bella and Brian Nadon completed the 7,850km Golden Tour trek across Canada on September 22, 2018!
Below is a link to the Global Nation news report on the completion to our ride.
On March 1st, 2019 Brian Nadon and Ginger-Bella will be leaving to cycle 10,500km throughout the USA.
Why the USA?
Because they are our family!
Signup and you will receive our monthly newsletter to follow Brian and Ginger-Bella's through the mindset of Complex PTSD
'Approximately 10 percent of all Canadians will suffer from PTSD in their lifetimes' - CBC
After a traumatic experience you will go through a period of transition. This is where we step-in and get behind someone looking to start a new career or finish post secondary education.
The heart of the VATIC Foundation is to offer a lending hand to any individual recovering from a trauma-related event/PTSD. Our foundation awards educational grants to individuals looking for a new start.
What does this mean for the VATIC Foundation? It's a cut-and-dried response; Our goal is to remain outspoken about mental health, truama, PTSD, Complex-PTSD, while delivering the groundwork, strength, courage, or even the confidence we depend upon during a period of desolation.
We work for people in need of someone to believe in them, and as such, help them believe and pursue a healthy, hopeful future.
ACCEPTING "GOLDEN TOUR 2018" DONATIONS UNTIL DECEMBER 15, 2018
PTSD - Alone with thoughts of what should have long been forgotten.
When someone feels weak, needs your help, and rests on your shoulder, be honored.
Thanks To Your Donation, Together, we will make a difference.
“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” - Nelson Mandela