By Hillsides Trauma-informed Care Committee
While this time of year can be especially cheerful with tree-trimming evenings, holiday shopping, and festive family gatherings, the season can be a trigger for stress unlike other types of negative situations. One benefit of the predictable holiday stress is its definite end. To prepare for the final days of the season and New Year’s Eve festivities, Hillsides Trauma-informed Care committee prepared a list of nine tips to help you reduce stress.
- Do something positive. Stress is guaranteed to impact you, but you have the power to determine how. During the holiday season, remember to do something positive for yourself.
- Keep traditions alive. Traditions are an important part of the holiday season. Whether it’s placing cookies and milk for St. Nick, making tamales with family, or adopting a family in need for the holidays, keeping these traditions alive bring us closer to one another to thank and acknowledge what we have.
- Breathe new life into old rituals. You have the power to recreate rituals that best meet your current needs. Rituals aren’t set in stone. You can adjust, modify or replace an expectation of a tradition that you don’t like. Don’t be afraid to give up what isn’t working.
- Share the love. The holiday season is a time for giving; take time to give to you. With the hustle and bustle of the season, we forget to take time for ourselves. It’s important to take care of yourself during the holidays. Do something you enjoy or something that feels good like going on a hike, taking a bubble bath, or spending an afternoon on uninterrupted holiday movie-watching.
- Acknowledge your feelings. Holidays can bring up difficult memories and experiences. Holidays can bring joy as well as sadness. For people who have lost someone, been separated from family or loved ones in the military, are having economic challenges, or struggling through an illness, situations and feelings are different for everyone. Take a moment to accept what you are feeling or what others might be experiencing.
- Breathe it out. As the holidays come to an end, taking a moment to meditate or breathe is important. Close your eyes and relax your body so that you are comfortable in your chair. Place your feet firmly on the ground. Scan your body for any stress or tension and slowly release all of your muscles so they relax. Take a deep breath. Picture your breath filling any stressed or tensed area with gentle white healing light. Allow the tension to melt away. Then, move to another area. Continue to move throughout your body until there is no more tension. You can always become grounded when being present to your breathing.
- Revive the excitement of the new year. New Year’s Day is the start of new resolutions for many of us. Starting a new hobby, joining the gym, and eating healthier are typical activities on our New Year’s list. Choose something interesting that will give you a thrill.
- Take a different path. Don’t let the pattern of your past dictate what your future will be. Your past has shaped who you are. Sometimes we’re afraid to deviate from our comfort zone yet moving away from what is certain can yield life’s unexpected and welcoming surprises. You have the ability to take a different path to move forward in your journey.
- Make time to restore. Throughout the year, we can always take time to rest, restore, and recover from any situation, whether at work, home, or school. Make a cup of tea to remind you to relax daily and review what you are thankful for.
Hillsides Trauma-informed Care Committee are comprised of Hillsides representatives in various programs who oversee trauma-informed care, the innovative method of care that screens and treats individuals according to the traumas they have experienced, avoiding blame and emphasizing self-care and healing.