Dealing with Emotional Trauma Over the Holidays
We all know what happens during the holidays we overeat, drink too much, spend money we don’t have, etc. But how do the holidays affect someone who struggles with emotional trauma? I’m talking about those dealing with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues. How do you cope when your emotions are running high during the holiday? What can you do to help yourself feel better?
What is Emotional Trauma?
For those who are unsure as to what emotional trauma is, it’s defined by the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as “a psychological injury caused by an extremely stressful event.” This includes events such as physical violence, sexual assault, natural disasters, accidents, war, terrorism, child abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking, bullying, and many others.
How Can the Holidays Impact Someone with Emotional Trauma?
The holiday season is stressful for everyone, but it’s especially hard on people who struggle with emotional trauma. It’s a time of year that triggers memories from past traumas and causes us to relive them over and over again. The holidays also bring up feelings of sadness, loneliness, anger, fear, guilt, shame, hopelessness, and more. For some, these feelings may be overwhelming and cause them to experience flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, and/or substance abuse.
We’re surrounded by family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and even strangers. Expectations are high as well. We want our loved ones to be happy and healthy. We want to celebrate together. And we want to give gifts to others. All of this adds up to a lot of pressure. And if you suffer from emotional trauma, it doesn’t matter where you live, what religion you follow, or what culture you come from – the holidays will still trigger old memories and make you experience negative emotions. If you’re struggling with emotional trauma, here are some tips to help you deal with the holiday season:
10 Tips to Deal With Emotional Trauma Over the Holidays
1. Be aware of your triggers.
Know where they are in your life so you can avoid them. This includes places like shopping malls, parties, family gatherings, restaurants, stores, etc. You might want to stay home if you find yourself getting triggered by certain things.
2. Try not to focus on the negative aspects of the holidays.
Instead, think about the good things in life. Focus on the positive aspects of the holiday season, such as family gatherings, parties, food, presents, decorations, traditions, music, etc. Negativity has a way of taking over when we’re stressed out. So try to keep your mind focused on the positive.
3. Take care of yourself.
Make sure you eat right, get enough sleep, exercise, and take breaks throughout the day. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to someone. Reach out to your friends, family members, pastor, rabbi, priest, or whomever you trust.
4. Stay connected to your support system.
Let them know how you’re doing. Ask them to check in on you every once in a while. They’ll be able to tell if something isn’t right and help process what you need. It’s important over the holiday not to pull away from those who care deeply about you and your well-being. Stay connected!
5. Do something fun!
Go out dancing, visit museums, go hiking, play sports, read books, watch movies, write letters, call friends, go camping, attend concerts, go fishing, swim, walk around the neighborhood, do yoga, meditate, pray, spend time with pets, cook, bake, garden, clean, paint, decorate, listen to music, or sit quietly and enjoy nature.
6. Know when to say no.
Don’t feel guilty about saying “no” to certain requests. Saying yes to everything could lead to burnout. And when struggling with emotional trauma, you must be aware of your limits.
7. Practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness helps you become aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions without judgment. It allows you to observe your behavior without reacting to it. Mindfulness can help you manage your day because it gives you perspective and lets you see things more clearly. You can practice mindfulness by focusing on your breathing, counting your breaths, paying attention to your body sensations, or simply being present in the moment.
8. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Comparison is one of the biggest causes of stress. When comparing ourselves to other people, we tend to put ourselves down. Know that everyone has their struggles and challenges, just like you. Instead of comparing, focus on being grateful for all that you have.
9. Learn to accept who you are today.
You can overcome the challenges that come from experiencing emotional trauma. The healing process is a journey to find peace and wholeness within yourself. Accepting who you are today will help you move forward.
10. Seek professional help if needed.
When dealing with emotional trauma, it’s easy to fall into self-destructive behaviors. Remember, help is available. Reach out to a professional mental health therapist or counselor if you’re overwhelmed and unable to cope with your emotions over the holiday season. A therapist can help you identify triggers, learn coping skills, and work through the issues that cause you distress.
Get Support From A New Heights Mental Health Counselor
Do you find it difficult to cope with your emotions over the holiday season? Are you struggling with life’s challenges and pressures from the holidays? You deserve better than what you are currently experiencing in your life.
New Heights counselors are mental health professionals specifically trained to help individuals who struggle with the stresses and difficulties that arise during this time. If you want more information about our counseling services, please call us today at 850-757-1552.
Other Mental Health Services Offered At New Heights Counseling
New Heights Counselor offers therapy for many issues, not just emotional trauma. We assist those who struggle with anger management, anxiety, depression, stress, grief, loss, addiction, abuse, trauma, PTSD, self-esteem, confidence, body image, eating disorders, and many more. We want you to feel comfortable enough to share your thoughts and feelings with us so that we can better understand your needs and help you find healing and wholeness.
Our services are for children, adolescents, and adults, and we offer in-person sessions at our Fort Walton Beach, FL location and online therapy for the state of Florida. The office is on the 2nd floor of WorkSpace Suites at 1992 Lewis Turner Blvd, Suite 1057, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547. Get directions here on Google Maps or visit our office location page.
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- Coping with trauma triggers during the holidays, Northstar transitions
- Coping with Trauma During the Holidays, Jeanette Hunter
- Welcome Video New Heights Counseling Founder & Clinical Director Colleen Wenner
About the Author:
Colleen Wenner is the founder and clinical director of New Heights Counseling, where she provides counseling services for individuals struggling with mental health issues. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Master Certified Addiction Professional. Colleen is a certified supervisor in Florida and an EMDR trauma-certified practitioner and consultant in training. Colleen is committed to providing excellent client care and services the Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, Niceville, Destin, and surrounding communities.
Colleen has consistently advocated for mental health wellness and has dedicated her entire life to promoting awareness among the public. She has been featured on various podcasts such as Practice of the Practice (The #1 Podcast for counselors in private practice), Shrink Think Podcast, and The Salty Christan Podcast, to name a few. She has also contributed to several Yahoo Best Life, Unfinished Man, UpJourney, and WebMD articles. Colleen uses compassionate and authentic communication to help clients understand themselves better and feel more confident about their ability to improve their lives.