Exercise and Mental Toughness
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If You Dread Holiday Family Time

Family christmas 1971

My family isn't perfect. I guess no one's is. But I am feeling grateful I generally feel safe and accepted when I am home with the relatives. It's maybe 70% pleasure, around 20% boring, and at most 10% awkward.

I know that is not the reality for everyone. For some people, being with family means feeling judged and unappreciated, dealing with long-standing conflicts and tensions, walking on tippy toes around people's feelings, or just wading through unhappy memories.

For them, holiday times must be times of such stress and confusion, being pulled between familial and societal obligations and what their heart tells them. "Just suck it up for Thanksgiving." "It's just one meal." "It'll be worth it to see my little cousins." "There will be so many people there I probably won't even have to talk to him."

If this speaks to your condition, I feel for you. Please take care of yourself in whatever safe and loving ways that you can.

And if it doesn't, if you happen to come from a relatively happy home, be mindful that that isn't the reality for everyone around you. Maybe check-in with someone who seems quiet when you ask what her holiday plans are. Or offer to organize a post-holiday outing for friends to recover from their family time.

Let's all practice compassion, for ourselves and for others. Everyday, of course, but particularly in this holiday time. Deal?

(And yes, that's a family Christmas pic from 1971. I'm the adorable baby in the middle.)

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