A 2020 Holiday Message

Earlier this week, I wrote a post about how it’s okay not to be okay, especially during the holiday season. Writing that post brought up a lot of feelings and memories of past holidays, and let me play over some of the more recent ones in my mind. I can’t remember a holiday I’ve experienced where anxiety or depression hasn’t played a role; I know they exist, but I can’t remember them. Instead, my brain will instantly remember the feelings of guilt, anxiety or shame that I felt the holiday before, and that turns individual memories into cycles of negative thoughts. Writing my latest post brought that all up again, so I’d like to respond to that with a holiday message specifically about 2020.

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This Holiday Season, It’s Okay Not to Be Okay

Around this time every year, I get sad. Not sad in an aesthetically pleasing way, or in a cinematic way. Not even in a way that’s particularly unique or interesting. But as much as I love the holiday season, it still happens. I don’t stay sad the entire time, and some years are better than others, but it’s something I’ve come to accept about this time of year. I like to keep my holiday posts full of advice because I think we could use it if we’re struggling around the holidays, but I also thought I’d take some time to give a little reassurance as well – that even during the holiday season (sometimes especially during the holiday season), it’s okay not to be okay.

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A More Difficult Holiday Season Than Usual

It’s no secret that the holiday season is a difficult time for many. Whether it’s that the sun sets earlier, the weather gets colder or you have to deal with family more than the rest of the year, the next few months bring challenges and difficulties that are unique to this time of the year. And this year, those challenges are even more difficult than usual because of COVID-19, meaning that plenty of people won’t be around the people they usually see during the holidays. Since we already know this will be a challenging time, how do we use this to our advantage? It’s time to get intentional!

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Making Our Way Through the Holidays

This is the third December that My Brain’s Not Broken has been around, so we’re now at the third time I get to write about mental health around the holidays. The first year I wrote about how mental health does not take time off for the holidays, even if you do. Last year I focused on using that quality time with friends and family to check in and see how your people are doing. Since I don’t want to get repetitive, I’d like to take a different direction, about the anxiety the holidays can bring and what you can about it.

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