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A Trauma-Informed Approach to the Holidays.
Prevention for the Holidays: Preventing Trauma and Vulnerabilities
Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
Executive Director: Counselor Education
Host: Counselor Toolbox Podcast
~ Identify trauma and depression triggers
~ Explore ways to deal with them
Trauma Triggers
~ Expectations and grieving
~ Expectations for an extraordinary holiday
~ Past memories of disappointment
~ Present expectations  anticlimactic
~ Reminders of what does not exist
~ Expectations for how people will behave (this year)
~ Anniversaries
~ Deaths (1st Christmas since grandma died)
~ Reminders of bad things that happened on that holiday

Trauma Triggers
~ Sensory
~ Songs
~ Icy roads
~ Scents
~ Rituals
~ That remind of abuse
~ That focus on God
~ Alcohol
~ Disinhibition
~ Intoxicated people
~ Stress
~ Insufficient sleep

Trauma Triggers
~ Financial worries
~ Trigger reminders of abuse from stressed parents
~ Reminders of disappointing their kids
~ Shopping
~ Trigger reminders of criticism and abuse
~ In crowds

~ Self Care
~ Sleep
~ Nutrition (including water)
~ Sunlight
~ Me Time
~ Exercise
~ Boundaries
~ Ask for help to avoid getting overwhelmed
~ Make a Bill of Rights to deal prevent guilt

~ Turn off triggering shows
~ Take a media/news break
~ Shop on line or ahead of time
~ Start a new tradition or just get away
~ Make a plan for the day
~ Trigger identification and prevention/intervention plan
~ Set a time limit
~ Have a friend to call
~ Make a plan
~ Memory journal
~ Release your resentments / Loving kindness meditation

~ Create a memory ornament or do something in honor of someone who has died
~ Reflect on happy memories (empty nest)
~ Volunteer/Random acts of kindness
~ Invite people over who have nowhere to go or are un-holidaying it too
~ Go on a hike
~ Treat yourself as you want to be treated
~ Love yourself and forget perfection
~ Video chat with friends/family at a distance

~ Rehearse how to answer “What are your plans?”
~ “Getting some much needed rest,”
~ “Catching up on projects”
~ “Spending time with friends,” even if your friends are me, myself and I
~ Envision an Un-Holiday
~ What parts are in your control
~ Who is (and is not) there
~ What are you doing
~ The holidays are hard for a LOT of people
~ They can bring up feelings of grief, guilt, loneliness, anger, trauma/helplessness, and depression/hopelessness
~ People need to be aware of what their triggers are, what those triggers are related to and have a plan to stop them.
~ Vulnerability prevention is also essential to help people have the energy and reserves to deal with unavoidable stressors.