Right around the corner comes our joyful holiday season. This is a wonderful time to come together with those we hold dear in our hearts. This season rings in cheer, laughter, and joy for so many. As much as we love the holiday season, remember that this is also challenging for some.
Many survivors may feel a sense of loss or grief, especially during the holidays. Some are left with feelings of loneliness or depression amongst the cheerful energy that may not always match others. For some, the holidays may trigger memories of unhealthy family gatherings, while others still struggle to build new traditions after leaving their abuser. Here are a couple of tips to help create a safe and supportive space for survivors around you.
1. Be conscious of past experiences and mindful of feelings.
2. Follow the survivor’s lead. If they are having a difficult time and do not feel like celebrating, listen and be there for support.
3. Remember everyone’s experience is unique. Do not assume that your situation or that of someone you know is the same as the person now in front of you. Give them space to be seen and heard.
4. When offering help, never make it about you.
Recognizing and understanding survivors’ feelings is crucial to securing a safe space for them to enjoy the holiday season alongside loved ones. It is important to address any particular concerns a survivor may express to you regarding negative feelings they associate with the holiday season. This will aid in ensuring the inclusion of everyone during a time that can feel isolating for many. Helping survivors create new and positive associations with previously negative feelings toward the holiday season will break down trauma, especially heavily associated with these times.
At DeeCilla, we are working to offer additional support to our survivors and help them develop ways to alleviate overwhelming feelings attributed to the holidays. If you would like to learn how you can support these efforts, please connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (623)440-6963.
Meet The Author
Emily Falcon is a Cuban-American student studying pre-med at Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL. She is also an undergraduate Research Assistant for Gulf War Illness clinical trials at NSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.