Get Well

Self and the City: Happy Holidays

by Hannah Smith

Self and the City is a column intended to increase visibility and dialogue surrounding mental health, relationships, harmful stereotypes, and the necessity for self-care and vulnerability. Self and the City will be headlined by Jessa Chargois on a bi-weekly basis. Submissions and guest columnists are welcomed to send work to

I believe in the magic of the holidays. I believe that there’s just something about this time of year that makes everyone warmer, more accepting, and overall, more caring. This holiday season, though different in many ways, we must strive to keep that uplifting attitude even more than usual.

It goes without saying 2020 has been an incredibly stressful year. It’s presented us with challenges with never thought we’d face and forced everyone to make some uncomfortable changes. Whether you’re still working from home and struggling to find a balance between mental health and productivity, or you’re going to work as someone deemed essential and putting your life on the line, or you’ve been vastly unemployed and left helpless due to the government’s response, we are each fighting uphill battles right now. And everyone’s battle is different.

We cannot allow the stress and anxiety that often accompanies the holidays to take over this year. That last-minute scramble to shop? Avoid it. Stressed you didn’t get someone the perfect gift? Don’t think about it. The thought is truly what counts this year, and if that means a gift might be late or your budget is lower than usual, that’s totally fine! Be thankful this year for what you do have: your health, your home, and your body have done so much to get you through this year.

So don’t lose your temper at a holiday worker, don’t berate a small business for a delayed package, don’t beat yourself up if you could afford less this year. Instead, remember that holiday magic: that feeling you get when Santa arrives at the Macy’s Day Parade, the warmth you get from being extra compassionate to others, that fuzziness of getting to spend time with loved ones, or the pure joy from having a day off. The more we strive to keep the holiday spirit, no matter how downtrodden your own spirit might feel, we will be able to relish in the positive moments we did create and we will be able to look forward to so many more blessings in the New Year.

Stay Safe and Happy Holidays!

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