Deep Breaths

 This time of year is always so busy. 

Parties, shopping, kid performances, trying to stay warm and sane. 

Everything is happening at the same time. 

Which is somewhat contradictory. To me anyway. 

It's cold, it's dark, and my basic instinct is telling me to stay home and hide from the people who don't live here. 

This is a rough time of year for many people. Even if you remove the financial constraints to throw yourself into debt and make sure that all the people you love know how much you love them through the magic of material goods. That is if you have loved ones. If you don't everywhere you turn you are reminded that everyone has a happy family. Except you. Then your brain, the liar, starts to tell you all the things wrong with you and why you don't have a family. Or why you aren't good enough for your family, if you have one. 

On top of all of the pressure we place on ourselves, there are social pressures. Invitations, expectations, work parties, and endless holiday concerts and performances if you are around kids. Let's also not forget all of the people who work in customer forward positions. The last thing you want to do at the end of the day after spending it being treated like a lesser person is to be with more people. 

We all know all of this. And yet, we can't seem to give ourselves a break when it comes to giving ourselves space when we need it. We say yes to all the invites, and we go to stores when we know they are going to be super busy. We feel bad for wanting to stay at home, or just somewhere quiet. For taking the time that we need to work on our mental health. 

I guess what I am trying to say here, is to take the time as you need it. It's ok to not say yes to everything, and it's ok to leave places early. It's ok if you need to sit in the dark and listen to whatever you need to get yourself through. Or to sit in silence with every light in your place on. Whatever it takes to get you to the next day. 

Remember to set your lines in the sand. Maybe your family is not really family. So, instead of sitting through what becomes a mental spiral, volunteer at a shelter, and serve some food to the unhoused. Go to an animal shelter and walk some dogs or hug some bunnies. Put yourself first. Leave town if you can and if you need to. 

Deep breaths. While we are told this is everyone's favourite time of year, many of us find it so stressful. We will get through it, do what it takes for you. That may be the best gift you give or get.

Happy Xmas (War is Over) is one of the holiday songs I get in the back of my head a lot. Released in 1971 by John Lennon and Yoko Ono and featured the Harlem Community Choir. It is a protest anthem. As with many songs, especially at this time of year, the main idea of the song is lost in the sentiment that it evokes.


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