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When the Holidays Are Hard

Many of us are preparing for Thanksgiving and the upcoming whirlwind of holidays with family and friends. But for many, this time of year can be overwhelming and challenging. Some of us have lost someone we loved dearly, and are coping daily with waves of grief and sadness. For some, our loved ones are still with us, but struggling with terminal illnesses or those that take away their cognitive functions, ability to communicate freely and effortlessly and more. If you find you just can't seem to get into the "holiday spirit" this year, it's okay.

Here are a few reminders as you press forward with this time of year:

Change Traditions or Let Some Go

Don't feel pressured to do everything the way it was always done, or just for the sake of doing it. If a family member pushes you to explain why you don't feel up to decorating five Christmas trees in the house, just let them know you are needing to simplify life this year. We should all be okay with that.

Give Yourself Grace

There are going to be days when you just don't feel up to it. You may not be able to get out of bed, or the thought of going to a holiday party and getting dressed up simply terrifies you. That's okay, too. Forgive yourself when you fall short, and ask for forgiveness if you let someone down. We all have bad days.

Take Time for Yourself

The best advice we have received from our treasured caregivers and nursing professionals is to take time for yourself, especially if you are grieving or struggling. Excess stress can easily weaken your immune system, attack your energy levels and cause other health problems. Set aside some time for yourself, even if it's just permission to run to Starbucks to have your favorite latte and a muffin. Bring a book and catch up on an hour of reading. Put your needs first, or at least move them closer to the top of that priority list.

The holidays can be challenging, but you always have the power to take control of your reactions and behavior.

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