Give yourself permission to avoid anything you know will be a struggle for you. The whole idea of Christmas triggers many powerful thoughts and feelings. This can feel overwhelming at times. Panic attacks, flashbacks or nightmares can be common responses to trauma.  If you can and if you know specific things that are likely to trigger you, then give yourself permission to avoid them. When you can, walk away from situations or even people if you know you will struggle. Try a social media detox – it’s too easy for people to express ignorant opinions. Alcohol is a double-edged sword, although it can numb feelings, it also makes nightmares more likely – and is actually a depressant, so long-term will make feelings worse. Limit where you can and avoid if you need to.  

If you don’t really know what is likely to trigger a panic attack or flashback then what you can do is to prepare a plan for how you will cope. There are some great online resources that explain what is happening when you have a panic attack or flashback, and they offer good advice on what to do.

Anxiety and panic attacks

Self care for PTSD

How to avoid nightmares and bad dreams to get more restful sleep

Make time to care for yourself afterwards.  Whatever you know will help – getting in the fresh air, calling a friend or supporter, distracting yourself with a book or film.