Holidays can be a bittersweet time for anyone with PTSD. While you may want to celebrate the holiday with your friends and family, often fireworks can trigger flashbacks and can prevent you from being able to relax and enjoy yourself.
On top of that, we are dealing with many other stressors on Independence Day. 4th of July can be hard for black folks who feel like they aren’t truly free in America, Indigenous people who have had their land stolen from them, anyone who struggles being around an abundance of food and alcohol, and Immigrants whose family or friends have been detained. Feeling like you don’t belong in this country can be traumatizing, and seeing others celebrate the country you have been hurt by on this day 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! Here are a few ideas for grounding techniques you can use to self manage your PTSD symptoms.
Grounding Exercises for Coping with Flashbacks
- Prepare a “grounding toolbox” for yourself. It could be your service dog, a song that relaxes you, a mantra, or some grounding exercises you like to use through Mira.
- Make your body feel safe. Feel your feet firmly on the ground, and stand against a wall or sit 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 that 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!
Everyone please stay safe, have a happy holiday and remember to use grounding techniques if you feel a flashback coming on!