Healing following a traumatic event is a process. Even if you’ve worked in therapy to significantly diminish the effects of trauma on your daily life, you may still find yourself noticing certain events or incidents lead to an increase in symptoms. While some triggers like loud noises or crowds are understandable, others may be surprising. Triggers can come up at any time, but some trauma triggers are linked to specific seasons. This may include holiday-related events and traditions or simply the change in the season. In this blog, we’ll discuss the reasons why changing seasons can trigger trauma and tips for navigating seasonal trauma triggers in the spring.
Why Do Trauma Triggers Change with the Seasons?
Regaining a sense of stability and safety is an important part of trauma healing, so it’s probably not surprising that times of change increase risk for trauma triggers that includes seasonal changes. When people healing from trauma experience change, they may feel a loss of control or a sense of instability that can trigger an increase in symptoms. At these times of increased trauma response, it’s easy for the person in trauma recovery to feel frustrated or like their hard work has been in vain. During times of seasonal trauma trigger, it’s important to shift focus away from the feelings of regression and remember the progress that has been made. People associate seasonal changes in mood and increased symptoms of trauma with the fall and winter. As the days grow shorter and colder, trauma triggers increase as do symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other conditions. However, springtime can also lead to an increase in trauma symptoms.
What Are Common Springtime Trauma Triggers?
Trauma triggers are as unique as the people they impact. No two people will experience the same triggers, but some of the common triggers that occur during the summer include:
- Assault on the senses – the growing flowers, rain, wind, and other season and environmental changes that happen during the spring can be very triggering for those healing from trauma.
- More people – throughout the winter, it’s easier to avoid people as most will seek shelter indoors. With warmer weather, you’re more likely to interact with others or see large groups of people.
- Storms – the old saying, April showers bring May flowers, is usually accurate. Rain showers and thunderstorms are much more common in the spring, which can be triggering from many people.
- Reliving – if the traumatic experience occurred during the spring, the person may be more likely to experience increased trauma symptoms, including reliving or re-experiencing the event, at this time.
How Can You Manage Trauma Triggers During the Spring?
Managing trauma triggers is all about developing skills to diminish the impact of trauma. Think of trauma healing as creating safe spaces. The more skills you develop to manage triggers, the larger your safe space becomes. Some ways to manage trauma triggers and begin expanding your safe space include:
- Practice mindful breathing – inhale slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth for longer than you inhaled.
- Practice self-validation – when you experience a trauma trigger, recognize and name it. Don’t avoid or repress emotions that arise. Instead, say this experience is making me feel upset, angry, sad, or triggered.
- Practice gratitude – when trauma symptoms increase, refocus your attention away from the trigger and onto something beneficial in your life.
- Laugh – laughter really may be a good form of medicine for trauma response if not the best. Laughing releases stress-reducing hormones that help us better manager difficult situations. Watch your favorite comedian or spend time with a friend who always makes you smile.
- Talk to a professional – a therapist can validate your experience and help you work toward resolving your trauma by managing current and future triggers.
Talk to a Therapist
Many people hesitate to talk to a therapist if they experience an uptick in trauma symptoms. It feels like they’re failing. A good therapist will tell you this just isn’t the case. No matter how hard you’ve worked to heal following a traumatic event, you can’t ever control or avoid all the potential triggers. Experiencing periodic increases in trauma symptoms is completely natural, but ignoring these increased symptoms can make them worse. If you want to talk to an experienced professional about potential springtime trauma triggers, the LMV Counseling team would be happy to hear from you. Take a moment to call us at (910) 210-6160, email email@example.com, or complete our online scheduling request form.