• 5 Coping Strategies for Navigating PTSD and the Holidays 

    You know the feeling.

    Its that stone cold fear you have in your gut when you realize that family commitments and obligations have your back to the wall. The important people in your life rightfully expect you to be fully present when family and friends gather for the upcoming holidays. Thing is, you’re holidays aheadunprepared for the ‘heart beating in your ears’ moments and you need a plan that will help you successfully navigate those trigger happy environments.

    Hang in there my friend. We will not leave you hanging.

    Here are 5 suggested strategies that can help you deal with the inevitable triggers during holiday gatherings:

    1. Know and understand your triggers.  Knowing what your triggers are and having a plan to process them can help you make it through most challenging family gatherings or events.
    2. Develop healthy coping strategies. It’s not a one size fits all kind of thing. It’s whatever will work to help you get through the triggers successfully. Reading? Jogging? Crocheting? Listening to music? There are a plethora of creative ideas out there.
    3. Be prepared. If you are prepared for situations that may come up, then nothing will surprise you. When accepting a social invitation, ask the host or hostess questions to help you plan: How many people will be attending? Who will be attending? What are the seating arrangements?
    4. Remember that leaving is an option. If you just can’t shake the uneasiness and anxious moments, excuse yourself and leave, even if just for a few minutes. Sometimes that does the job. At other times, the best course of action is to simply leave the event.  Whatever you choose, those people that care about you will understand.
    5. Create a strong network of support… whatever that looks like to you. Finding someone (a few someones) that understands and is willing to provide you with support is vital to getting to the other side of the trigger successfully. Knowing there is someone that understands what you are feeling and will be there to offer their support can help make coping with the situation much easier.

    You CAN do this. 

    Be proactive. You may want to write down some of your coping strategies. When a stressful situation arises, you can take out your notes and remind yourself. Sometimes during a stressful situation, you can forget your plan. Having things written down can help.

    Finally, the real, true celebrations of these holidays are a time of giving and receiving, of grace and peace. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah or Kwanzaa, be kind to yourself. You deserve to enjoy this time.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

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