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Beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes, drama, anxiety, shame, guilt…

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I don’t know about your family dinner menu but for years, mine consisted of the unappetizing shit listed above.

Now, I’ll be the first to say that I LOVE my family, however I refuse to let my allegiance to their traditions kill me.

What do I mean by that?

Well, according to several medical studies, poorly managed stress and anxiety can lead to an early death. If you’re not one of those lucky people who have a functional family, you know first-hand just how anxiety provoking the holidays can be.

Picture it…

Being trapped in a confined space filled with rowdy relatives whose very presence triggers your PTSD from the last holiday dinner.

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You’re attempting to discreetly break a Xanax tab in half from the inside of your pant pocket while you smile in your grandma’s face. All while pretending like your mom’s AC is working right when you know damn well that it ain’t. You want to sweat but know that if you do you’ll have to take off a layer of clothing and face a body-shaming joke, or slick ass comment from a down-low, misogynistic “play-cousin”.

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Sounds stressful AF right?

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Well, after years of receiving ribbon-tied packages filled with panic, shortness of breath, and overwhelming amounts of discomfort for Christmas, I’ve decided to make a change.

Following a conversation with a friend of mine, whose family also drives her crazy, we both decided that in an attempt to actually enjoy the holidays, we’re not spending them with our relatives.

We’ve decided to break tradition.

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Now this doesn’t mean i’ll be avoiding my gene pool altogether. I simply plan on spending Thanksgiving with family, and Christmas with friends.

I think one major contributor to holiday season anxiety and even the “cuffing season blues”, is that we do too much shit that we truly DON’T WANT TO DO. We grab the pillow, bite our tongues, and emotionally take it in the ass with no lube just ‘because it’s Christmas-time’.

—Man, fuck Christmas-time.

Well not really fuck Christmas, but fuck how people use Christmas to bully and guilt trip one another. Christmas might only one day out of the year, but your sanity needs to be in check all year round.

I look at it this way…

If being around your family stresses you the hell out, DON’T BE AROUND THEM FOOLS DURING THE HOLIDAYS! You can spend a few days with them for mother’s/father’s day or even Easter, but if you want to enjoy the winter holidays, reclaim them for yourself. #ReclaimingTime

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If you’re single and feel that hanging out with your friends who are in relationships makes you feel shitty or like a 3rd wheel, DON’T HANG OUT WITH THEM WHEN YOU’RE IN YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT BEING SINGLE!

If you feel pressured to find a last-minute, holiday party date (who you’ll probably end up smashing out of drunken desperation) but you’d rather just watch Netflix, DON’T GO TO THE DAMN HOLIDAY PARTY!

Listen, so much of the suffering we endure in life is self-inflicted. We knowingly place ourselves in shitty, uncomfortable situations because of traditions or out of fear of how people will perceive our absence. Honestly—Fuck whoever judges you for going ghost on their macaroni and cheese.

—It was probably gonna be dry anyway.

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And no you don’t owe anyone an explanation for your absence unless you feel obliged to do so. Chances are, no matter what you tell them, they’re still not going to see merit in your reasoning.

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At the end of the day, the only opinions that matter about how you manage your mental health are yours and your doctor’s—NOT your nosey ass aunt’s.

I don’t mean to sound like the grinch, but we all need to learn the importance of prioritizing our self-care—even on Christmas.

At the end of the day your sanity, inner peace, and comfort should be at the top of your holiday shopping list this season.

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Posted by:Anthony Black

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