Christmas is a time to rejoice in all the good that exists in our world.  Some of us may get to reunite with loved ones we have not seen in a while.  We have the opportunity to show the people within our trusted circle how much we appreciate them.  To be showered with hugs and experience joy is what the holiday season is about.

What I especially love about Christmas is being with my family.  Whenever I am around them, I feel truly blessed.  Their cheerfulness and sense of humor is what I look forward to.  They make anything seem possible.  The greatest memory I have is of me and my family dancing in the living room.  They encourage me to be free and fun.

On the other hand, it may be a difficult time for those who are survivors of traumatic events.  While at a family or friendly gathering, they may find it hard to interact and fulfill the needs of others.  The people who care about them want them to be happy and outgoing but being there is a challenge, in and of itself.

The fear of not living up to someone’s expectations sometimes forces us to hide and isolate ourselves.  In order to reach a sense of calm during the holiday season, I looked up some ways to alleviate stress and anxiety.  Here are a few that I find helpful.

  • Be yourself. Don’t try to be perfect for everyone in the room.  Be comfortable in what you have to offer, which could be a smile or a one-on-one conversation.  Do what helps you and makes you happy.
  • Focus on the present. We have the ability to create the worst possible scenarios.  Imagination is powerful and anticipatory anxiety is real.  If we train our minds to see that our present is what matters, then negativity will certainly escape from our minds.
  • Relive the good memories. Think of the moments where you were happy it was the holiday season.  Cherish the people who participated in your joy and reach out to them.
  • Talk to somebody who can relate to your struggles. It can be of much value to know someone who understands your pain.  If you need a support group, Mental Health America has a list of organizations that help those with post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Relax. Find something that gives you peace.  You can take a walk, stare at the horizon, read a book, or disconnect from social media.

This holiday season, let’s embrace what we do have!

With the help of Two Wings, many of our clients are one step closer to realizing their dreams.

We encourage you to become a part of a survivor’s success story by joining us in our Campaign for Hope – a 5 week campaign to raise $10,000.  You can commit to monthly giving, or make a one-time donation.  Any gift, big or small, will help transform the lives of our clients and lead them to realizing their dreams!

From all of us at Two Wings, may your holiday season be filled with hope and happiness!  Thank you for supporting a cause that empowers the lives of so many.

Stephanie Sandoval

Contributing Writer, Two Wings