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Struggling Through the Holidays

Are you between the ages of 20-65? Have you been sold the idea that the holidays mean cheery, emotional and connected family moments with the whole gang? If so, you might be entitled to compensation because frankly, the holidays are not what they are sold to be for many, many people. 

Now, if you’re the kind of person who does not need compensation because your family is that cheery, loving crew all wrapped up in chunky Fair Isle print sweaters hugging around the tree, then you can just skip to the next incredible article in this magazine. For everyone else, I am writing to you. For many people I have worked with, known, or personally been, the holidays have the potential to cause more distress than yuletide. Fraught family relations paired with great expectations yield disappointment, frustration and hurt time and time again. For those of us with shared custody arrangements, this time can be especially bitter when the kids aren’t around. You might be nodding but wondering, “what can I do?”. 

If you are one who is struggling this year with a broken heart or the loneliness of the season, please deeply understand that you are not alone. Some years are just harder than others, and it does not mean that there is anything wrong with you. Do not make the mistake of basing your entire conceptualization of yourself on who is or is not present at the holidays. It can be helpful to get some perspective on the holidays- they are one or two weeks out of 52. It can help to prepare in advance – if you know you’re going to dinner with insufferable relatives, have an exit strategy. If you know you’re going to be alone, line up some good movies for the day or try to tag along to another dysfunctional family’s dinner. 

If you’re struggling, please connect with your friends, loved ones or a therapist to get through this season. Opportunities masquerade as problems and there might be a lesson in here for you. In any case, you’re not alone and 2023 is on its way.


Jordan Thomas is a psychotherapist and the owner of an award-winning trauma therapy centre. After recovering from debilitating PTSD, she has built an inspiring life and wants to help you do the same.


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