The Fourth of July can be a bittersweet time for anyone with post-traumatic stress disorder. While you may want to celebrate the holiday with your friends and family, fireworks can trigger flashbacks and prevent you from relaxing and enjoying yourself.
Independence Day can also be tough to cope with when you feel like you don’t belong in America. It can be difficult for black people who don’t believe they are truly free in America, Indigenous people who have had their land stolen from them, people who struggle being around an abundance of food and alcohol, and immigrants whose family or friends have been detained. Seeing others celebrate the country you have been hurt by can trigger trauma symptoms.
It is normal to feel overwhelmed on holidays. Make sure you take extra precautions and prepare in advance, in order to be prepared in case your trauma symptoms are escalated!
Grounding Exercises for Coping with Flashbacks
- Prepare a “grounding toolbox,” or ways to bring yourself back to the present. These can include your service dog, a song that relaxes you, a mantra or the grounding exercises found in the Mira app.
- Make your body feel safe. You can do this by placing feet firmly on the ground to feel the earth below you, standing against a wall or sitting on a chair. Remind yourself that you are safe.
- Practice deep breathing. If you feel yourself starting to get tense, begin taking deep breaths to calm your body and mind.
- Notice your surroundings, and remember you are in a safe environment.
- Find out what time the fireworks are going to start, and where they are going to be, so you can be aware and prepare yourself!
If you struggle to manage your trauma and PTSD symptoms during the holidays, you are not alone. With the support of mental health professionals and self-management tools like the Mira app, you can find relief and peace. Learn more about ways to cope with trauma by reading our blog!