Happy Holidays! Create a New Tradition!

These coming weeks can be some of the most difficult for many people, many of them are the friends and families of the registered. This time of year brings reminders of good times, but it also dredges up those times of severe hardships and separation for any number of reasons.

Many times registrants aren’t allowed to attend their own children’s holiday pageants and plays or attend religious services. In this country and in this state of Wisconsin any other offender that has paid their debt to society by completing the sentence imposed upon them by a court has the right to reintegrate into society and move forward with their lives with their families. This should be no different for registrants and their families who’s license plates and home addresses are posted publicly, easily accessed by any vigilante. Not exactly full of Christmas cheer, is it.

So we learn to cope, to mitigate and change our family traditions to normalize our holiday season as much as possible for all that come together for the celebrations that happen throughout the season. Below are some tips and tricks I have learned and observed over the years to keep from have a bummer of a holiday season.

  • Get enough sleep, when you are sleep deprived your mood will take a swing downward, especially with the lack of sunlight and the days only getting shorter until December 20th, when they start getting longer again. {YAY!}
  • Decorate, you don’t have to put up the tree at Thanksgiving or even a real tree for that matter, but put out a few festive objects or some lights, twinkly lights always brighten a person’s mood. Sometimes, especially after Halloween, it feels as if you’re just never going to be allowed to have fun on any holiday. This is not true and is the reason why putting up something festive will brighten the mood.
  • Get in touch with the distant family and friends, just cause they can’t visit and you may have trouble visiting them, doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate over the phone, Skype or Face-time. Those new apps that connect family and friends via video chat help us feel more connected at times like these.
  • Take some time for yourself, the holidays can be overwhelming as it is fun, but the constant commotion can bring on anxiety and cause PTSD to flare. Taking some alone time or even just less busy time can rejuvenate you so that when the deluge of family and friends arrives you’ll not only be ready, you’ll feel ready.
  • Instead of traveling to other locations for dinner, which could cause issues if someone is still on supervision, host one of the big dinners over the holidays. You don’t have to cook the whole meal, but rather spread the love and have everyone bring an assigned dish to pass, so you end up with all the fixings!
  • If there are events you can’t attend due to circumstances of any kind, try to arrange a different get-together on a different day, have someone that is attending the other event take some video and hold and ‘after party’ for some of the attendees that you missed, so all of you can enjoy the video and likely commentary from those that attended. It isn’t being there, but it is better than never knowing or seeing anything at all too. This is especially helpful for holiday productions and plays that may be held in places that a registrant can not go. Just because you are unable to attend one event doesn’t mean you can’t create another.

Above all, attempt to ignore the complete commercialization of this holiday season and concentrate on the quality of time and selection of gifts vs just spending money mindlessly on items because, “that’s what people do this time of year.” You and your loved ones are worth so much more than that, everyone appreciate a thoughtful gift vs a commercialized ‘haul’.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel and people all over that are going through the same struggles that you are. If things get overwhelming, check out http://support-for-families.boards.net/ exclusively for the families and loved ones of registrants.

Holidays can be Happy! Because happiness grows where you cultivate it.

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