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Unhappy Holidays!

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, quickly followed by all the other holidays.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Boxing Day, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Winter Solstice, or National Eggnog Day (yes, it's a thing!) it's possible you may be dreading some, or all of it.

You may not be in the holiday spirit. And that's OK! Getting together with family over the holidays can be stressful, and unpleasant for some people, and many struggle to get through the holiday season for various reasons.

Having a "happy holiday" or a "very merry Christmas", may not come easily to everyone.

With shorter days and more darkness during the winter months, it can cause seasonal affective disorder, causing depression, and there are many other reasons why it may not be the most wonderful time of the year!

You may have recently lost a loved one and will be feeling the impact even more during the holiday, perhaps choosing to visit their grave, rather than attend a party. Every one mourns in their own way. Give yourself the grace to do what feels right for you.

Perhaps you have separated recently, ended a relationship, or finalized a divorced, and find yourself spending the holidays alone for the first time in many years. Perhaps you are finally an empty nester. If so, take some time to figure out what you truly want going forward, and create some new traditions for yourself.

Or you may be visiting a friend or family member in a home, or hospital, and find yourself discovering a new normal for the holiday while simultaneously grieving what you wish you could have had this holiday season.

It's possible you may be dreading having dinner with that loud obnoxious cousin, or your narcissistic mother in law, or you may be feeling anxious about being around someone in your family who has abused you in some way, and caused you trauma in the past. Perhaps you feel yourself getting triggered by a scent, a song, or something from your childhood when you are at your parents house. Perhaps you have trepidation about being around your judgmental and critical relative who always makes you feel like you are never good enough. It's ok to decline the invitation or to set boundaries for yourself as to how you participate and how long you will stay!

Your body tells you everything you need to know! That heaviness in your shoulders, that lump in your throat, that tightness in your chest, your quick to anger response, they are your body's way of screaming at you that it doesn't feel safe and doesn't want to go there, or be around that person. Listen to it, pay attention to the clues it is sending you.

Don't sing along if you'd rather mourn, and don't let the "merry and bright' of it all allow you to feel like you have to fake being happy.

Acknowledge your emotions, find a safe place to share them, and talk about your feelings, don't judge your feelings and don't bury them.

Listen to your body! Know that it is perfectly acceptable to decline an invitation that doesn't feel right in your body!

There's no right or wrong way to feel at the holidays. It is just as OK to have a merry Christmas as it is to have an unhappy one.

All that being said, I want to wish you the very best level of happiness that you desire for yourself this holiday season. Happy holidays or unhappy holidays, whichever you choose, be true to yourself.

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