Individual counseling at Take Charge, Inc. can help people recognize triggers for trauma during the holidays, so you can thrive. During the holiday season, the need for a trauma-informed approach is critical. Everywhere we turn, we’re reminded that it is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year.” While for some that may be true, for others the holiday season is wrought with triggers such as songs, scents, and rituals.
Is it possible for you to just ignore the holiday? For some people, especially those with children, this is not an option. But if you’re lucky enough to have the flexibility, who says you can design your holiday. ? Deciding how and when you want to spend time with your family is important. You can arrange spending time with other friend’s and families. Or find others who are away from their families or are from another country and include them in a celebration as community helps us heal. It can be really empowering to add your definition of the holiday.
Often just recognizing that you are triggered allows you to focus on addressing it differently. Wishing that things were different, comparing your situation to others’ happy arrangements and worrying about how to get through it are perfectly understandable and even reasonable responses to holiday triggers, yet important to be aware they can also increase suffering. An alternative is accepting the present situation as it is, which can allow you to move more quickly into planning your coping strategy.
First, as the time of year when the traumatic event occurred comes around again, a very powerful reminder of the trauma often occurs. The brain is triggered and begins remembering. The body also remembers and symptoms reemerge. With individual counseling at Take Charge, Inc., Terri Dichiser provides a safe, comfortable environment that allows you to put your thoughts and feeling into words, without fear of criticism or judgment. She will guide you into a better understanding and possibly a different perspective on your life’s circumstances.
Another consideration is that holidays can also trigger trauma memories and symptoms, especially if loss has occurred. The loss of a loved one is one of the most common and difficult traumatic events humans can experience. Even if the loss did not occur around the holidays, holiday times often serve as reminders of loved ones who are deeply missed.
Here are some tips for when triggers emerge:
- Practice patience. Impatience can be a huge trigger for those in recovery. It’s understandable that you want to make progress, but it takes time. If you begin to feel that you or others aren’t moving fast enough, stop and reevaluate. Are you being realistic about what you can accomplish when? Also, take some time out to remember how far you’ve already come. Practice deep breathing so our body can experience calm.
- Get plenty of rest. What does a good night’s sleep have to do with addressing triggers? Exhaustion can put you at risk of relapse because you won’t have the energy to deal with the issues that arise in a healthy way. Also, lack of sleep may be an indicator that you aren’t practicing good self-care. Focusing on nutrition and exercise are more important during stressful times too.
- Identify underlying emotions. Loneliness, fear, anxiety or unreasonable expectations can turn events that should be happy and fun into something painful. Identify what you’re feeling and name it, so you can address it. Depression is rampant at this time of year. If you feel depressed, don’t just try to push through, look into options for treating it like individual counseling at Take Charge, Inc.