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Ding Dong Let's Get Really High

And the holidays are nearly over. Boo, I hear you say. Or at least some of you; for others Christmas day isn’t always as festive as the craic it’s cracked up to be. The holidays can be a melancholy time, with nothing but memories under the tree and the poison ivy of family drama hanging where mistletoe should. For those who celebrate Christmas it is the one day of the year where the expectation of family obligation weighs heavy, a similar pain to Jesus’ hand nails. In the movie Four Christmases there is a reason why Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn lied to their families that they were going abroad for charity work. And yes in the end there was joy to be found, but not everyone’s life is touched by New Line Cinema (probably a good thing for those living on Elm Street). In reality one man’s holiday can be another man’s nightmare.

Anoushka’s Yuletide Tips:

Breathe. There is not enough said about the power of deep breathing. It shifts the body out of the sympathetic nervous system - responsible for the fight or flight response and into parasympathetic mode: a healthier state.

Drink. There is also not enough said about the benefits of alcohol. Grab that brandy for the pudding, chuck back that whisky-laced egg nog and try a straw with that mulled wine. Not too much you end up telling your brother you slept with his wife but enough to tolerate your brother, who is an arrogant twat, even when wearing a cute Santa hat.

Be Brave. Do what is right for you, and do it kindly. People may be disappointed you decide not to be with them, they may be hurt and they may be angry - this is their right. This is unfortunate for you and does make it a harder decision but doing what’s best for you can sometimes be the better option. Happiness is easier spread when the spreader is happy. If you rock up tense and not wanting to be there, odds are you’ll dish up some of that resentment gravy even if the turkey wasn’t dry (FYI duck is sooo much more tasty).

Accept. You might like the holidays one day but even if you never do, that’s okay. Accept it and don’t worry about what everybody else does. They’re not you, they’re not living your life. There is huge pressure to conform to societal traditions at this time of year and the pressure can be overwhelming even if your father didn’t suddenly drop dead four years ago (Freudian slip).

I’ll leave you with this quote, from Drea Peiris in my debut novel The Good Enough Mother, and see you in 2017:

‘You're different. You don't try and be anything else but you. I don't think you could if you wanted to and it's ...well it's really fucking refreshing.'

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