If you don't find community and joy in the holiday season, know that you're not alone in feeling this way. The holidays can be a challenging time, and that's particularly true if you’re a survivor of trauma.
Here are some reasons you don't like the holidays as a trauma survivor:
For some trauma survivors, their trauma may be related to family members or family dynamics. And since the holidays often involve spending time with family, this makes it incredibly difficult for survivors who've experienced trauma within their family.
Expectations & Pressure
The holidays often come with a lot of expectations and pressure to be happy and celebrate with others. This can be overwhelming for trauma survivors who may be struggling with their mental health or actively working to release and heal from their trauma.
Trauma survivors may feel isolated during the holidays, especially if they feel like they cannot relate to the joy and happiness that others are experiencing.
Loss & Grief
The holidays can also be a time of reflection and remembrance. For trauma survivors who have lost loved ones, the holidays can be a painful reminder of that loss.
The holidays can be full of triggers that remind survivors of their trauma. For example, certain smells, sounds, or sights may bring back traumatic memories.
It's completely understandable that you may find the holidays difficult due to your past experiences. And it can actually result in the dysregulation of your nervous system.
So it's okay to not participate in holiday celebrations if it's uncomfortable or triggering for you to do so.
If you're a trauma survivor experiencing discomfort during the holidays, this might show up in physical signs like:
- increased anxiety or depression
- sleep issues
- the feeling of loneliness even when surrounded by others
- heightened sensitivity to sounds, lights, or crowds
- overwhelming emotions or flashbacks
- difficulty in concentrating
- changes in appetite
The good news is that it's possible to navigate the holiday season with less stress, less shame, and much more peace. So if you need permission to stay home this holiday season, consider this it.
You can also start doing somatic exercises, which alleviate any stress and anxiety you start to feel from the holiday season. This can make the season much more manageable and enjoyable.
If you want to release stress and manage the holiday season as a trauma survivor, sign up for Release Stress & Stored Trauma In 30 Days.