BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – We may be in what’s called the most wonderful time of the year, but 2021 may have been anything but that for families who have experienced trauma.

“Trying to stuff those things away, those negative thoughts or emotions, can often make us feel worse down the line,” UAB Clinical Psychologist Dr. Kaylee Crockett said.

According to Crockett, all sorts of emotions can surface following life-altering events, and we need to acknowledge them when they do.

“I think that can be an important first step in verbalizing what’s going on and often times learning that you’re not the only one that’s experiencing these types of things,” Crockett said.

She suggests saying it out loud to yourself or writing it down as a first step.

“It is okay to acknowledge the pain and the grief,” YWCA Sr. Director of Family and Community Empowerment Monica Shields said. “It is okay to seek help, it is okay to take a break and it is okay to verbalize whatever feelings and emotions they may be experiencing during the holiday season.”

Shields said to take the time needed to heal, set boundaries, and find someone you can talk to. If you don’t have someone, the 24-7 crisis hotline is ready.

“When we have spaces where we can communicate that information then it lessens the trauma of that from becoming volatile and sending us into a downward spiral,” Shields said.

Crockett said to find your values and do what makes you happy.

“Tuning into what’s important to you and acknowledging values are important to everyone can be a good way to kind of focus one’s behaviors or activities to help them feel more fulfilled,” Crockett said.

The YWCA typically works with victims of domestic violence, but it has established plenty of community partnerships to get you the help you may need. You can always call 205-322-HURT (4878) or 1-800-650-6520 any time to get connected with a resource provider who can direct you to the appropriate service.