Dec 19, 2023 / Traumatic Brain Injury
The holiday season can be a festive, joyous time of year to celebrate with family and friends. However, it can also be a very stressful, busy time of the year. In fact, the American Psychological Association reported that eight of every 10 Americans anticipate stress during the holiday season (American Psychological Association, 2015). For those individuals living with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), the holiday season can be an overwhelming and symptom provoking. Statistically, mood disorders develop commonly among persons with TBI with estimated frequencies ranging from 6-77%. Within this range, most experts on this subject accept an estimated first-year post-TBI frequency in the range of 25-50% and lifetime rates of 26-64% (Mood Disorders After TBI, 2016). As with all of us, these symptoms can increase with managing stressors, expectations and busy schedules.
So how to best navigate the holidays with a TBI, or supporting a loved one with a TBI? First, it is important to recognize the common holiday stressors and think about how will it effect a person with a TBI:
After we have considered how the person with a TBI will navigate the above, it is important that we manage our own expectations. It is hard not to think of holidays of the past or get caught up in the dreams of a Hallmark Movie perfect celebration. Being reality based and setting the holiday season up for the most success is the best recipe. It is important to allow yourself to acknowledge and express your feelings honestly in a productive way. Some things may have to change, some things may be able to stay the same. The important thing to remember is no matter how you choose to spend your holiday season is that it is a wonderful life and a gift that we have been given to live it. Happy Holidays!