As the Holidays are fast approaching, I have spent much of my time during sessions preparing clients for visiting and enjoying their time with their families and loved ones. Most vacations away visiting families or staying home are wonderful and full of long lasting positive memories. Sometimes, this is not the case with all families or all trips. One idea to help navigate through potential troubled waters, is to create a mini traveling survivlal kit that will help soften some of the intense feelings that occur after a family trigger. Trauma Expert, Janine Fischer suggests this with people who are at risk for self harm, but I have found that this idea helps many people cope in all situations. We are always packing for EVERYTHING–why not “pack” a kit that will help you cope with potential family triggers. Triggers can occur in any sensory experience: sight, taste, smell and auditory.
The contents of the kit depends on YOU and the details surrounding the trip. To prepare, you must think about potential pit falls and triggers, as well as, the events that you really want to ENJOY! With this in mind, pay attention to how you are feeling when thinking of the triggers — how intense are they? where are you feeling them in your body? Now — what are some things that might help you cope IF this situation occurs during your home holiday or your vacation away. Some suggestions are: exercise, going to the movies, listening to a great song list, knitting/sewing, reading a book that is pleasurable, calling/texting a friend…. . Make list and practice preparing to use it. You can literally create a box to bring or even something in a separate bag that would also include your favorite quote, stones or other “grounding” objects.
When faced with difficult family situations, this survival kit gives you a plan to help control feelings that can be overwhelming and can cause you to feel flooded. Most importantly, the goal is to ENJOY the events that are important to you and not remain STUCK in the emotional storm. Hope this tip helps you in enjoy your holiday.