Dealing with Family Trauma Around the Holidays

The holidays are often a complex time for many people. On one hand, there maybe a sense of joy in the air, while on the other hand, sorrow and grief may be present as a result of loss or a dysfunctional family dynamic. Here are some ways you can deal with family trauma around the holidays:

  • Have an Escape Plan

Being around loved ones who support and care for you can be a comfort. However, you'll also want to have a plan that will allow you to get away from the holiday festivities when you feel yourself become triggered or emotional. This may mean you drive separately to an event so you can leave when you want. Don't be afraid to set boundaries and stick to them.

  • Feel Your Feelings

The holidays mean everyone is supposed to "put on a good face" and act jolly, right? No! It's important to feel your feelings, not ignore them or pretend they do not exist. If you had plans to spend time with loved ones but you suddenly feel overwhelmed, anxious or depressed, do not deny these feelings and try to "put on a good face" so others have a good time. It's better to gracefully bow out of the plans and be 100% genuine with your feelings. Remember we can only heal from trauma by facing the full extent of our darkness.

  • Make Self-Care a Priority

When we relive our trauma and deal with big emotions, it's easy to let self-care slip. Dealing with trauma takes energy and mental clarity, and that will require you to treat your heart, mind, and body with gentleness and care.

You may want to speak with someone during this time. A therapist can help you navigate your feelings and offer coping strategies. If you'd like to explore treatment options, please feel free to call or email me. I would be happy to discuss how I can help.

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