This article was penned by one of our beloved staff members, Mary Jones. Mary is originally from Guanajuato, Mexico but now lives with her bicultural family in the triangle.

When we think of immigrants being alone or unable to be with their family for Christmas, or people who are missing a loved one who passed away recently, we know how hard this is! This year has been tough!

During this time of the year, there is a lot of pressure to be happy, to show off your happiness, your smiles, your Christmas tree surrounded by many presents. We see everyone’s picture all over social media with smiles and happy families having a great time, etc. Also, there is a lot of pressure to give gifts to everyone: your kids’ classmates, their teachers and school staff, co-workers, friends, relatives, your children, your spouse, etc… it can all add up to create a lot of pressure and stress.

But all of that stress is why we often forget the real meaning of this season! In my home where we celebrate Christmas, we try to build awareness around the importance of taking a pause and evaluating our priorities. As parents, we need to ask ourselves what we want to teach our children about the meaning of holidays.

Likewise, I’ve seen how important it is to care for ourselves and others during this season. Here’s some ideas:

Find some comfort in reconnecting to your faith system or deep beliefs. You may find support in other people who feel the same way as you do!
Do your the best to connect with your family – even if they are far away. And take time to honor their memory if they are gone.
Connect with the people you love! There is no better medicine than that! Feel their love across the distance!
Seek out the people who care about you! They may be neighbors, co-workers, friends, or acquaintances who canbrighten your day a little. That is self-care! And self-care is exactly what we all need.
It is important to be intentional about showing kindness to yourself! Amidst all of the distractions, it is important to care for yourself and be very intentional about doing things that you like. We all have a friend who makes us laugh or that is kind to us, an activity or a hobby that makes us feel alive.

And finally, if you live with mental health struggles, it is very important that you continue with your care plan, and that you visualize and have clarity on how you will stay calm and centered through this special season.