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Coping with Christmas when you have CPTSD

It is often difficult coping with Christmas when you have CPTSD – Complex Post Traumatic Stress disorder, as many don’t have much coping skills. On top of dealing emotions and triggers from the things you actually remember; you have to deal with your emotions, emotional flashbacks and triggers from present day experiences. Christmas is a big trigger for many but can be a big opportunity for learning more about yourself. Christmas for some:

– can bring up bad memories of your childhood

– you may find yourself with people that either have traumatised you in the past or remind you of someone from you past

– or you may start to compare yourself to other people’s Christmas’s.

In this article, will provide some details of how you can cope with it better and even enjoy it as best as you can.


There are so many ways it can help you here.

  • Try journaling to connect with what you really want for Christmas.
  • Explore your family values and traditions. Then decide which ones you want to reject or keep. Find out what is right for you
  • How has past Christmas’ affected you? Right about how you really feel about things both good and not so good, has affected you.
  • You could also journal your “Ideal Day”. Go into detail here. Where would you like to spend Christmas, who with? What would you wear? What would you eat? What presents would you give and get etc

Say kind words to yourself with Affirmations

It can heighten feelings of fear, inadequacy, loneliness, disappointment and hurt. We may also feel insecure and not good enough.

  • Identify your negative self-talk and beliefs around Christmas
  • Create affirmations out of those beliefs or use some of those below
  • Begin using the new affirmations
  • You can use affirmations in a variety of ways that would benefit you.


Identify your negative self-talk and beliefs around Christmas

Write down the negative words you say to yourself around Christmas

This could be negativity around money, spending time with your family, buying presents etc. Try and focus on just one of these areas at a time

Write down all the negativity about it that comes to mind

Your negative beliefs could be I can’t cope with Christmas;

I am useless

I will mess everything up on Christmas Day

Nothing I do I ever good enough


Create affirmations out of those beliefs or use some of those below

Essentially, the opposite of the above negative belief is the thing that you want to make the centre of your affirmation.

Its ok if you feel uncomfortable doing this as it is normal.

Try using word such as I am, I will, I can

You can also make up some yourself

I am a good person regardless of how much presents I give

I am a good person regardless of how much I do for people


Guided meditation

I found these guided meditations that you can use specifically for the holidays to help you connect with your inner child.

I have also found some to help you cope with any challenges you are facing at this time of year.


“Christmas Eve” a Guided Sleep Story Meditation (Sleep Talk-Down)

Guided meditation – The snowman within yourself: A christmas story for sleep

A Christmas fire side story of a snowman. This meditation will take you back to being a child again, where fun and being care free really does release constraints and conformity. Guided down into a deep relaxation and if you wish, a pleasant sleep.

Guided Meditation: Inner Peace at Christmas (Meditation Vacation)

This guided meditation will help soothe your mind, balance your emotions, heal your mind, stop overthinking and help you into deep relaxation, helping with your sleeping problems. and to fall asleep to.


Create handmade gifts

This could be great for you for play and enjoyment, also for the person you are gifting.


Create professional-looking coupons for this year’s Christmas gifts. From movie night to breakfast in bed, personalize your coupons for the special ones in your life.

Photo coasters

Choose some of their favorite pictures to add and pair these textured wood coasters with pretty glasses or their favorite bottle of wine.

DIY Natural Lip Balm

Homemade lip balm offers a couple of big benefits: it’s all-natural and smells delicious. Stir up your batch with a lavender, peppermint or grapefruit fragrance.

Chunky Knit Blanket

Rather than splashing out on an expensive knit blanket, make your own by following this three-step tutorial. That way they’ll really feel the love when they snuggle up on the couch

Filled Glass Ornament

Make a one-of-a-kind tree decoration by filling empty glass ornaments with bottle-brush trees, jingle bells, sprigs of pine branches, colorful feathers, or any other decorative accents you have on hand.



Play does not need to be reserved for children your inner child needs play too:

Look on YouTube or Pinterest for inspiration and ideas

Family board games

Dance when you can

Attend dance lessons

Put together your favourite Christmas music to dance to

Mindfulness activities

Brief body scan

Start off by taking a single, deep breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. You can open or keep your eyes closed. Try to notice where your body is: it’s position, how your body is feeling, if you are feeling any tension. See if you can allow that to soften or adjust your body as needed.

2) Tune in to nature

When outdoors, allow your awareness to wander a little bit. Be aware of the sounds, smells, what you can see, even what you can touch.

3) Try some crafts

Doing the craft itself is a mindful activity as you can become really consumed in the activity

Craft activities such as adult colouring. There are a ton of Christmasy colouring books. You can also knit, crochet and sew Christmas decorations

Choose where to go

If you find Christmas too much for you, you don’t need to stay around. You might find it more beneficial to go somewhere to be completely taken care off. You deserve it! It is OK to take a vacation. It’s your chance to go somewhere you will enjoy.


Take care of who you surround yourself with

Make a list of those people that you normally spend Christmas with.

Write next to each name how you find being with that person, spending time with them

Rate them from 1 – 10: 1 – toxic very difficult, 10 – lovely to be with enjoy their company

Those with less than 5, minimise on the time you spend with them


Plan ahead

The benefits of planning is that being disorganised can add to your anxiety.

Think about:

  • Who you want to spend your time with?
  • What do you want to happen?
  • What would you like to do?

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