As we move beyond the holidays, I find that it might be helpful to give a review of some of the strategies that have helped my clients manage themselves when they felt challenged, and ways to prevent some of the difficulties.


  1. Become aware of signs of activation or being triggered: anger, fear, sweaty palms. This awareness is often all that is needed to begin to relax.
  2. Become aware of signs of dissociation: dreamy state, feeling far away, glazed, absent minded. Awareness and acceptance of dissociation are often the most important actions to relieve dissociation.
  3. If and when you see or feel such signs, know that this awareness is the most important first step. Take a breath and acknowledge your success.
  4. Pause. Stop what you are doing, if possible.
  5. Orient: trauma lingo for getting to the place and time that you are in right now: look around, let your eyes follow what they want to. Invite your innermost senses to be here now.
  6. Touch something: Slide the fabric of your clothes between your fingers or “fidget” with something like a bottle cap, a marble, or your keys – whatever is handy.
  7. If the situation you are in is causing the difficulty you are having and it is possible, leave the situation.
  8. Connect to people, places, things, or activities that feel good to you. Friends, lover, nature, music.
  9. Gently tap your skin with your hands: legs, arms, torso, head.
  10. Take a cool or cold shower. Feel your skin. Alternate with warm water.
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