Holidays can be fun, but they also generate stress with the extra activities, the entertaining, and the extra expenses. For victims of domestic violence of any kind (verbal, emotional, physical or sexual) the holidays can be extra tough.
What does one do with bad holiday memories in the season that suggests that everyone should be happy and share in joyful family events? How do you handle it? What can you do when you feel more like crying than celebrating?
These are real and painful questions. There is pressure to have a Rockwell image Christmas with lots of warm family togetherness—but it isn’t always the way things really are. Sometimes old memories blot out the present.
I believe we can improve our holidays even while we are engaged in the process of healing from abuse. We can take actions, such as any of the following suggestions:
1. Take a Break
If you can, give yourself the gift of a break from counseling until after the holidays. If you are in crisis, then keep on going and reward yourself for attending. Go to a park or take a hike or visit an art museum. Do whichever calms you.
2. Get your Heart Pumping
Include a time most days to exercise. It will release endorphins that will lift your mood. Plus, as an added bonus, it will help your body burn those calories from holiday sweets.
3. Write Freely
Use your journal when old memories come up. Honor your feelings by recording them. Let your writing be uncensored. Journaling can help your process your thoughts and release your emotions all at the same time.
4. Find Fellowship
Share with a trusted person what you are going through. Let another see your pain. It really will help. Absorb the kindness, understanding, and caring that you receive. Let it sink in. Allow yourself to be comforted in your pain, knowing that talking and being heard will bring you further along in your healing.
5. Create Fun
Make time for your hobby or watch comedy movies. Doing something you enjoy will refresh and strengthen you. Do not consider this a waste of time—it isn’t. Don’t save it for last all the time—sometimes play first makes work happen at a more efficient pace.
May your holidays include restorative moments. May God help you to feel His presence during the season of celebrating the good news that Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose up to live again so that we might be reconciled to God. Hallelujah!
Do healthy things, dear Reader, it will reap so many benefits that will reap so many benefits that will encourage your heart. Let’s give Jesus our hearts and our healing process this holiday season.
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