A Friendly Reminder: Take A Minute For Yourself Over The Holidays

Christmas has always been a huge family affair for me. On my mom’s side, I have 6 cousins- 4 sets of aunts and uncles, plus my mommom and when I was younger my poppop. On my dad’s side, I have 3 aunts and now 2 uncles, and 4 cousins. When I was younger, we would go to my mommom’s house with the entirety of my mom’s side and open presents after mass, and have a huge dinner complete with all the fixings. My mommom still loves to make candied yams and refuses to let anyone else do it.

Despite all the happiness associated with it, the holiday season can be trying for a lot of people - your relatives ask a lot of questions, memories of loved ones who have passed resurface, reminders of how far you are from family seem to be at the forefront of your mind.

You are not the answer to “how’s school going?” You are not a grade point average, nor a course load or a major title, or a degree. You are a student - an individual who had the guts to seek out higher education. You are not your Aunt Sally’s expectations - you are your own goals.

It’s okay to feel overwhelmed when the chatter of your extended family overwhelms your senses, it’s okay to take a walk just to get some peace and quiet. For some people, socializing with someone other than your direct family can be exhausting after a few hours of “how are you?” from the same 12 people.

Cuffing season can also take a huge hit to your mental stability around this season as well. After a chorus of “how’s your boyfriend/girlfriend?” or “what ever happened to Jimmy I thought you guys would be together forever!” and the inevitable discussion from your overtly homophobic aunt about how your girlfriend is “just a phase”.

The holiday season can bring out the absolute worst in people - it strains your wallet, your brain, your love. It can also be one of the best times of the year.

Remember the sound of wrapping paper being ripped from that new box of legos, and the smile on your grandma’s face when you gave her that necklace that she still wears 15 years later. Remember the happiness you felt when you got to play with those new legos while your aunts, uncles, grandparents all cooked the day away in the kitchen.

Remember what that Christmas ham smelled like through the walls of your mom’s childhood home and the way it made your mouth water.

Remember the taste of the love that was baked into the cherry pie that was gone practically the second it hit the table.

But most importantly, remember that it’s only 6 hours. You can do this.