How to quiet trauma triggers and stressors during the holidays

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Post-trauma, other people (and even ourselves) may sometimes have unrealistic expectations of how long that trauma will continue to resurface. With additional social invitations and an influx of people around, the holidays can be particularly difficult for those of us living with trauma-related stress symptoms.

To ensure you have a happy and enjoyable holiday weekend, here are some tips for reducing any trauma triggers or stressors:

  • Plan ahead: avoid the anxiety involved with spontaneous plans by planning ahead what you will be doing, when and with whom. This will help you maintain a sense of control and allow you to be able to mentally prepare yourself for what lies ahead.
  • Be okay with saying “no”: remember that it’s always okay to say “no” when you need to. Your healing and well-being should be top-of-mind, so be okay with allowing yourself to decline invitations. You don’t need to attend every event you’re invited to, take care of yourself first.
  • Do it your way: if there’s a particular place or situation you will be attending that you know will provide triggers or additional stress to you, find out what you need to make the situation okay for you. What or who will you need to bring in order to make yourself feel comfortable and safe? Listen to your needs.
  • Have an exit strategy: ensure for yourself that you have a way out if things get too stressful for you. In other words, have a back-up plan or a way out of a situation that will allow you to leave, take care of yourself and move forward.
  • Be authentic: try not to worry about other people’s expectations for you or your personality, just be true to yourself and authentic with who you are. If you have anxiety about having to put on a mask for certain people or in certain places, it might be better to rethink the importance of being in those situations at all.
  • Stay mindful: always remind yourself to stay present and take things moment by moment instead of inviting anxiety in by worrying about what could happen.

Above all, listen to your body and do what you need to do to keep yourself grounded and in a position to enjoy the holidays. We wish you the very best holiday season!

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