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Posttraumatic Reminders during festivities

Many people dread the Christmas holiday season. For them, it is the worst time of the year, because this time is filled with lots of emotional triggers that we would rather avoid. Some associate this time with the death of loved ones or the separation because of divorce or emigration of family members.

The emotional triggers and loneliness are made worse by an inability to connect to the people around them because of deep-rooted emotions such as fear, grief, rage and bitterness. We can be lonely in our own company as well as in the midst of friends and family.

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Losing sight of God’s mercy reminds us of our shortcoming and faults of the people around us. Christmas time can emphasize our spiritual turmoil because we try to live up to an unattainable ideal of religion.

This is a time of sensory overload on all levels. Bright lights, flashing lights, loud music, endless holiday music and crowed shopping malls all add to the load on the nervous systems. Travelling on overcrowded public transport and congested hi-ways is even more strenuous. Holiday destinations might not be all we hope for, because of poor weather or even more overcrowding. Not exactly what you hoped for.

Stress changes the body’s metabolism and the festive diet tends to aggravate the feeling of not-being-well. This is a time when we pile on sugars, alcohol, fatty and food with empty calories that puts our nervous systems under a lot of strain.

Social media can add to the stress, sadness and feelings of disconnectedness because everyone seems to be so happy or terribly distant from your experiences. Many of my clients were affected badly by posts which were posted of accidents, quick 'fix' advice or judgemental remarks. Those remarks are not about you, but rather about the person who posted it. It might be wise to limit the time you spend on social media platforms.

Rediscover the joy of creating something beautiful or reading your favourite book - old or new.

Do something special and mindful for someone who can't repay you.

Deal with the Posttraumatic Reminders and enjoy the season.

-          If you are seeing a therapist, schedule a coaching session/s before going on holiday and facing the family. This will help you to pace yourself and decide what you want to do.

-          Find your own meaning for the holiday season. I see it as a time for renewal, self-nourishment, quiet companionship with those I love and sleep. A lot of sleep.

-          Take care of yourself.

-          Rest.

-          Eat well.

-          Cultivate compassion in your heart for yourself and others.

-          On a personal note: This is the time of the year when I look back at the gifts, miracles and provision of God, in my life, my family, business and our ministry. I write down my hope, dream and plans for the year to come.

My wish for you is that you will experience the peace and joy of God.

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