Ideas for Holiday self care

Invisible Fire

MyPTSD Pro
Halloween starts the holiday season for me. Like for many it is filled with triggers and with lots of stress which causes my PTSD cup to overflow. I am wanting to put together a plan to stay balanced this year. I have came so far and with all of the extra stress of the world today I don't want to lose where I am. Or maybe I need to be prepared to feel off balanced and not beat myself up for it. Just curious if anyone has any ideas or already have plans of how to make it through the next 2 months?
 

Invisible Fire

MyPTSD Pro
Yes that is a good idea. I was reading some of the similar posts, ones about the holidays. One of the things I need to get building and working on is boundaries. I tend to not want to cause trouble so I go along.
Some of my trauma is focused around the holidays, most all of it on family gatherings. It is something I have learned about PTSD. I have been called a Scrooge and such around the holidays. I see now the avoidance behaviors and the anxiety that go hand and hand with many things.

@Friday I read where you wrote comparing diabetes and PTSD. I have thought of that comparison before. And with the holidays there are lots of sugar and foods. I am at a point of my PTSD being managed. Part of me believes if I can get through the holidays and manage symptoms it will prove something.
I also worry I’m already a bit dysregulated. I caught it yesterday. Planning on going to the gym, learning a new subject, finding books to read, going to go on a diet and so on. If I read a new book or not eat pizza I’ll be ok. As I run in circles searching for peace. And I look in the mirror and have no idea who I am or what I want.
I read somewhere once of a man who kept running from the shadow that chased him. It wasn’t until he sat under the tree to rest that his shadow left him alone. Sorry for the ramble
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Hi @Invisible Fire, Holidays can definately be a trigger and there's the stress if you've a family to 'provide' or 'take part'. I think that the things you listed are a good idea. Having a back up plan and looking after yourself is key. It's not about being selfish but 'we' have to protect ourselves because 9times out of ten, other people won't because they rarely understand what it's like for us. If you can get through it without ' losing your shit' then your winning! 😊 hope your ok.
 

RussellSue

Not Active
I tend to not want to cause trouble so I go along.
Me too. Sometimes, though, picking one's battles is necessary for navigation of difficult situations. I wouldn't judge yourself too harshly on that one -- nearly every person on the planet does it to some degree.

The holidays are hard. It's easy to get out of sorts during the pandemic, during the holidays. Maybe write down some specific goals for the holidays and choose only 3-5 to actually accomplish? And then try to keep your eyes on those? You don't have to do perfectly or even well in every holiday endeavor. I have to do things of this nature often when my head wants to do 10,000 things to keep from sitting and feeling, which means I do it a lot. It works out better than actually trying to go in the direction of all 10,000 things which is my natural inclination.

Best of luck!
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
Early on, when I left the dysfunctionals, I decided I couldn't stay in this house. I needed to be somewhere else on Thanksgiving (a friend) and Christmas (distant cousins). Both places had what I was looking for, primarily non-alcoholic/no drugs or drug users (that means in my world one glass of wine, maximum) respectfulness, tradition, standard turkey meal, and the people in attendance can and do get along. I had decided I'd never waste any more holidays with people who didn't care about getting along. Non-dramatic holidays was what I was shooting for.

The first year, was the worst year, because it was new-a change. But there was no drama, no criticism, no irritation of any kind, and everyone got along.......this was moving in the direction I personally wanted to head. Something that resembled a happy holiday. It also felt a little boring at times....like it was missing something (drama and negativity).

So, I've spent the last 2 years celebrating this way and it is great. I take a farm raised turkey to my friend's father's home (God forbid I work in the kitchen on Thanksgiving-their family has this all arranged so I don't even bother to step up and try), but gifts, games and sweets are welcomed so I do that. I find I need to do my part....not just show up and sit down to eat. I'm not PTSD symptomatic anymore when I leave my home and go for a holiday, because I expect it to be a pleasant day....cause I picked more boring/mundane generally happy people to spend the holiday with, and who seem content with themselves and each other. Spending time with my cousins, I get to do all the cooking and bring a turkey and I love to cook a big meal.........it's their only turkey dinner in a year....so that makes me feel good....and they are appreciative and never critical. The only difference this year is that I'll get a Covid test and seclude till I get the results, before getting in the car to go visiting.
 

Invisible Fire

MyPTSD Pro
Well I am coping better this year than I have in the past. But, I can tell I’m a bit off balanced with some of my actions and thoughts. The one good thing about a pandemic is no family gatherings.
I’ve read somewhere that it’s ok, not to be ok during the holidays. That is where I am. A lot of my trauma happened on and around the holidays. So, the triggers are everywhere but I can tell this year is different. One of the things I’ve learned in therapy is to acknowledge my black and white thinking. Everything to do with the holidays doesn’t have to be bad. Which causes me anxiety to think about. But, I’m working on it. Hard to settle that place in my mind saying it’s Christmas hide. But again I’m working on it.
 

Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
Like my trauma and everything I guess, I’m conflicted by things so it’s no surprise I have both reactions. I love the holidays and they upset and trigger me at the same time. I’ve made a lot of effort though and it pays off. I love the holidays comes out on top and I get some enjoyment out of it.

It used to be very bad and I couldn’t even stand hearing people enjoying things . I guess I got triggered by people feeling happy. I know I was hugely triggered at one period by people being normal whatever that is. Just people who were able to get on with life because I couldn’t.

I feel better these days and I hope everyone finds a way through because I know it can be really hard. I also know things can improve and I hope they do for everyone.
 

Invisible Fire

MyPTSD Pro
I guess I got triggered by people feeling happy. I know I was hugely triggered at one period by people being normal whatever that is. Just people who were able to get on with life because I couldn’t.

yes, i relate to this.

Thanks for your comments. as always its reassuring to not feel alone. Trying hard to enjoy the holidays. To focus on what I am grateful for.
 

Rani G2

MyPTSD Pro
the triggers are everywhere but I can tell this year is different.
Good to read this Invisible Fire... wishing you lots of energy and strength.
Have been on a similar territory since a while now. I’ve been conditioned as a child to be always selfsufficient/selfcontained, to not reach out to others with emotional issues, to always deal with issues with self rather than sharing. That kind of stand alone attitude was being praised, and that’s what I find very hard to deal with. I always want to come off as the one that doesn’t need others, connection.. lot of work.
 

Clocked

New Here
I guess I’ve sorta been conditioned to not like holidays and birthdays based on the enduring disappointments throughout these periods during my life. I do enjoy the time off, and make sure that my kids have very different experiences than me (i.e. enjoyable ones). Largely I keep my circle über small during holidays and only surround myself with those who understand my situation, who are safe, know that I may just need alone time - and don’t bother/stress me about it - or are offended by it. I also keep stimulation to a minimum when I’m struggling. I’m not too upset at all that COVID has forced Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with just me and my kids.

Sending virtual hugs to all who need or want them.🤗
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
This year, I was invited to a good friend's house for Christmas Eve and to spend the night and be there for Christmas Day, too. I didn't want to be there for her family zoom meeting (they are a loving family....something to long for), and I felt her life partner should have part of the holiday with her.....I don't want to be saved by anyone either....so, I changed the plan to come Christmas and spend Christmas night.....we like to puzzle.....can finish one that is reasonable in that amount of time, do presents, and visit properly. So, now I'm at home. What did I decide to do on Christmas Eve alone at home? I'm cleaning. I'd let the house go, and so I'd give myself a clean house, clean sheets, the cats get canned tuna (the real good stuff) and then finish wrapping presents to take on Christmas Day, and make food to take for tomorrow......oh, and send out a few Christmas cards, too. When I'm done with the cleaning, and finish arranging/wrapping/sending Christmas things for others, I bought a WiiFit....for myself for Christmas with a dance mat....(need more exercise)......It has sat for a month to be opened today........so that will be my evening gift to me. Also I signed up for a dating sight....I don't want to date.....not yet, but I'm just looking at the pictures and reading some of the goofiest write ups.........yeah.....that was amusing.....
I'm grateful that there will be no bickering, over-drinking or drugging, or hateful talking or hurtful sarcasm.......being alone has it's upside. This is first year since I left all my family......that I'm home on a major holiday.......I figured I'd start with Christmas Eve, and maybe next year invite others over to my house. Today is much better than I'd imagined it was going to be.
 
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