The holidays can look different for everyone
For some, the holidays are a period of joy and festivity. For others, including many Veterans and their Families, it can be marked by a persistent sad or empty mood, feelings of hopelessness or pessimism, or even irritability, frustration and restlessness. Separation from Family and friends during the festive season can also create intense feelings of sadness and longing. With the holidays following closely after Remembrance Day, this can also be a solemn time.
The pressure to be social and partake in holiday activities can at times be too much for those living with a posttraumatic stress injury (PTSI). PTSIs can have an impact on day-to-day functioning, mental health and the experience of the holiday season. The experience, traditions, needs and feelings of Veterans and their Families may be diverse during this season.
It can be a difficult time to navigate, but there are ways to make it easier to manage for Veterans and their loved ones. It is important for Veterans and their Families to know that it’s okay to focus on their own needs first. This might include coming up with a plan to navigate the holidays that feels good for them, even if that means stepping away from busy festivities and making new traditions.
And although connection is an important part of the holiday season, this can look different for everyone. It could mean spending time with your Family members and friends, or even come in the form of peer support.
Holiday resources for Veterans and Families
- Tips and strategies for supporting our kids during the holidays: To help support the youngest members of Families living with PTSD, we’ve developed some tips and strategies to help you help them get the most out of the season.
- 10-minute guided meditation: Bringing on holiday cheer: A breathing exercise to help manage holiday stress: This 3-step process — check-in, movement, check-in again — is an easy tool you can take with you throughout these holidays.
- MyGrief.ca: Grief doesn’t stop for the holiday season. MyGrief.ca is a free e-learning resource to help people better understand and move through grief in different situations, including grief after trauma.
- Managing holiday stress: This video shares ideas for making this holiday season a little happier and less stressful.
As we enter the holiday season, our thoughts are with the Veteran and Family community, as well as the active military members who are deployed over the festive season and Royal Canadian Mounted Police members who are working during the holidays to keep communities safe, and with their Families who are keeping the home fires burning. We appreciate you.