The holiday season is stressful enough as is. For those that deal with PTSD, this time of year can be an absolute nightmare. Not only do PTSD sufferers have to deal with the stress of family gatherings and being out and about, they also have to contend with stresses that family and friends don’t recognize. The source of one’s PTSD can be from a death in the family, surviving a horrific accident, or having to endure physical, sexual, and emotional abuse from a close friend, relative or loved one.
If you suffer from PTSD, the holiday season is dreadful. While it can be extremely difficult to navigate, there are things you can do to help ease the pain and maybe help you overcome this debilitating mental condition. The following are some tips to help you cope with PTSD during the holiday. Take the tips presented in this article and use what you can. If you still are having difficulties dealing with your PTSD, call the experienced and compassionate professionals at Hawaii Island Recovery toll-free today.
Try and Stay Grounded
In order to cope with PTSD during the holidays, it is extremely important to stay grounded and focused on the present. You can keep grounded by simply keeping your feet on the floor or by keeping textured items in your pocket or wallet. You can also keep occupied by engaging in interactive apps on your phone. Additionally, you can go outside in the fresh air. Whatever you can do to focus yourself on the present moment…do so!
While you may feel powerless in the grip of PTSD, you have a voice. Another important way to cope with PTSD during the holiday season is to set firm boundaries. If visiting with a family member or friend is too stressful for you (especially if they are the focal point of past trauma), it is your right to not see them. Use your voice and learn to say no if a situation puts you in jeopardy of a breakdown.
Take Care of Yourself
Of all the tips in helping combat the stresses of PTSD, taking care of your basic needs is often overlooked. Be sure that you are eating a healthy balanced diet, getting regular exercise and plenty of sleep. Be sure you give yourself some time every day for some “you time” in order to reset and recharge. Being of sound mind, body and spirit is an important line of defense against the stresses of PTSD.
Beware of Substances
For many people who suffer from PTSD, drugs and alcohol are often an inviting means to escape. While you may feel some sense of relief from taking substances, it does nothing to tackle the root causes of PTSD. In fact, substance intake can increase if you are not taking the positive steps in dealing with your condition. It may seem difficult, but it is best to steer clear of drugs and alcohol if at all possible.
If you are starting to feel overwhelmed with your surroundings, take a few deep breaths. It sounds too simple to be true but taking cleansing breaths helps you become grounded in the present. As you breathe, relax your body and especially those areas that hold tension such as your shoulders. You will find that by breathing and relaxing the anxiousness you feel will gradually subside.
Lean on Your Support System
While you may be seeing a therapist in order to cope with your PTSD, he or she is not going to be available 24/7. It becomes crucial that you build and maintain a solid support system of those people in your life that are totally supportive and empathetic. Having family, friends, and other supportive people in your corner to reach out to in moments of vulnerability can help you navigate your feelings.
Be Kind to Yourself
In reading these tips, remember one important fact: you are not perfect. You will make mistakes, fall short and have bad days—and that is alright. Learning to cope with PTSD is a process and it will take time for you to get a firm handle on your feelings. Keep reminding yourself that things will be OK.
If you or a loved one is struggling with PTSD during the holiday season, Hawaii Island Recovery can help. We offer solid effective programs that help you get the tools and support you need to become stronger, healthier, and happier.