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Skipping the Holidays This Year for My Mental Health

Since having kids, my schedule from September until January is crazy. It gets worse when Halloween approaches because of all the festivities that go along with the entire holiday season. When my mom moved to Panama, my sister and I started alternating Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. The meaning of the holidays got lost through the years, especially when the kids became teenagers and adults. I also felt that it was tons of work leading up to the day, and then two hours of family time, and then hours cleaning up. 2019 was a tough year for a lot of reasons, and so that also made me come to the decision of skipping the holidays this year. Before I did that, I talked to my teens to make sure they were ok with it. I knew that if I skipped, they would as well, and I didn’t want to be selfish. My son was fine with it, but my daughter was a bit hesitant but then understood. We said that next year, and in the following years, we will do the holidays.

The rest of my family was not as understanding. They kept saying it was wrong of me to skip the holidays. It was a selfish act that I am putting on my kids and that it was wrong to do something like that. In the past, I would have caved. I would then have been filled with resentment for doing what I said I didn’t want to do. This time I said no. You know what? It felt damn good. I still wanted to eat Thanksgiving dinner, so I ordered one from Whole Foods. My daughter and I picked it up the morning of Thanksgiving, and I quickly heated it up in two hours. The meal was delicious. The turkey and ham were both juicy, mashed potatoes were creamy, and green beans were flavorful. The only issue was the stuffing. It had a sour taste that I think they added a bit too much lemon to it. We also got a pumpkin pie from a local pie shop and this chess pie that caught my eye at Whole Foods. We sat down and had a great meal. The kitchen was cleaned in 30 minutes.

My son went to work because he is saving up for a long-term financial goal, and his job was offering him time and a half. My daughter and I watched YouTube videos and movies. We both took a nap while the dogs did the same around us. It was a stress-free, drama-free, carefree day. I was happy with my decision, and I could tell the kids were as well. What I have learned is that you won’t make everyone happy, but you have to do what is right for you. My mental health was important, especially with everything that had happened this year. I knew that I would be miserable trying to do all the things that I usually do during the holidays. It was nice to be at peace.

For December, I told the kids that we will do a weekly holiday event and volunteer to help others. The holiday spirit has been lost, and it’s time we reclaim it. It isn’t giving elaborate gifts, decorating the house, or having a delicious meal. We used to remember that, and it’s time to get back to that time.

You have to take care of your mental health even if that means skipping the holidays for the year

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