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Navigating the Holidays: A Message of Support from Sojourn Counseling and Mersey Craft Spirits

Sojourn Counseling is a non-profit counseling practice that exists to offer quality mental

healthcare for individuals regardless of their ability to pay and has an emphasis on providing care for individuals living with the effects of trauma and PTSD. For the past two years, Sojourn has hosted a fundraising event in the Birmingham, Alabama area called Run, Ride & Rumble for PTSD Awareness (RRR), which has not only succeeded in raising money to support its mission but has also brought greater awareness to the impact of trauma on people’s lives and has provided an outlet for those living with trauma to find community and available resources.

Mersey Craft Spirits has joined Sojourn Counseling as a sponsor for the first two annual RRR events. Both Sojourn Counseling and Mersey Craft Spirits understand the value of quality mental health care, particularly in regard to individuals living with PTSD. During the holiday season, good mental health care can be vital for those living with the effects of trauma.

Although the holiday season can be a joyous occasion for many, for others, it can be one of the most difficult seasons of the year. Many individuals face more significant challenges to their mental well-being during this season, including increased stress, increased social anxiety, feelings of isolation, and an increase in feelings of grief and loss. For those living with PTSD, all of these symptoms can be exacerbated even further. During a time often associated with joy and celebration, many are struggling with triggers of trauma and loss. Combine these triggers with Seasonal Affect Disorder, a condition that results from fewer daylight hours, and it can make for a very tough season.

If you are someone who deals with the holiday blues and especially if you are living with PTSD during this season, there are a few things that can help ease your distress during these final days of the year.

Don’t neglect your self-care. The holidays can be busy and demanding, but it’s more important than ever during this time to pay attention to healthy habits like getting a good night’s sleep, maintaining your exercise routine, and being careful about the amount of food and alcohol you consume. Self-care may also include deep breathing exercises as well as prayer and/or meditation.

As you navigate family gatherings and holiday parties, it can be helpful to communicate clearly with close family and friends about the activities and environments that you find particularly challenging. Clear communication with your loved ones can help alleviate the burden of people’s expectations for you to be in situations that can be triggering. You may even consider modifying your traditions and choosing new ones that are less triggering or offer more mental health support. Think of things that actually bring you peace, joy, and rest.

As always, consider finding professional support. Having a qualified professional in your corner is helpful, particularly during a time when you might feel the need for extra support. Asking for help is a strength. It may not only benefit you but also the people that you love.

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