Dealing With Trauma During the Holiday Season

Why are the Holidays a Trigger?

With the holiday season upon us, there is an abundance of parties, dinners, gift-giving, and other winter festivities. While others are bursting at the seams with holiday cheer, you may find yourself feeling emotionally drained.

Many people find themselves feeling worried by the idea of meeting expectations—whether you’re hosting an event or worrying about what gift to buy for someone, the thought of letting someone down can be overwhelming. Others may be experiencing an excessive amount of stress for the same reason, feeling as though there is a never-ending list of work to get done in time for the holidays.

This time of year can also be especially lonely for many people. Some may be dreading spending the season without a significant other. Others may live too far from their families and loved ones to see them. It’s also very common for people to feel emotionally disconnected from those around them.

These negative feelings that the holiday season may bring can also be an additional source of stress and anxiety. Here are some tips to help you cope and maybe even bring some joy back into your holiday season:

Phone a Friend

Having someone in your corner who understands your circumstances and truly cares about your wellbeing can help you feel at ease. Whether you choose a friend, significant other, or family member—having someone who will check in on you and what you need can help keep you from falling into a holiday funk.

Don’t Overextend Yourself

With an abundance of holiday celebrations during the winter season, you may feel pressure to attend. Remember, you are not obligated to participate in every event—pick the few that make you feel comfortable. Taking care of yourself should be your top priority throughout your mental health journey.

Shift Holiday Traditions Away from Food

For those living with eating disorders, the holidays can be especially tricky to navigate with so many food-focused traditions. This time of year is meant to be about thankfulness, togetherness, and joy. Shift the focus away from grand meals, sweets, and treats to topics of gratitude or other conversational topics your loved one enjoys.

Take a Break from Social Media

Social media can be an excellent tool when it comes to keeping up with friends and family, but social media can also be a trigger during the holiday season. To avoid comparing your current situation to what you see on your timelines and feeds, uninstall the apps from your phone. Take this time to spend face-to-face time with the people in your life.

Talk About Your Feelings

While the idea of starting a conversation with your parents and loved ones about your struggles with your mental health, getting that support may prove to be a crucial step in your journey to recovery and wellness.

Look After Yourself

If you’re in a situation where you can’t find support in your personal life, remember to prioritize your mental health. Continue steps of self-care such as checking in with your therapist, attending support groups, getting enough sleep, and any other wellness activities and techniques that make you feel better.

Remind Yourself that You are Strong

When you find yourself becoming overwhelmed or feeling negative about yourself, take a moment to step back and pause. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and remind yourself that you’re doing a great job. Be kind to yourself through your recovery process, and continue to give yourself positive reinforcement for your efforts.

Seeking Help at Tapestry

At Tapestry, our treatment programs are dedicated to understanding our clients as whole people with varied life experiences. Whether you have questions about mental health or how to support a loved one struggling with their mental health, we are here for you. Contact us today by filling out a confidential form or give us a call at (844) 299-1343.

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