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The Snuggle is Real

The holidays can be pretty stressful for pretty much anyone, but for some reason, people who struggle with mental illnesses/imbalances tend to unravel faster than the toilet paper roll the morning after a biggie turkey dinner brussel sprouts splatter. I’m not exactly sure why, you know, on a psycho-cellular level, but I can tell you that it’s true. Well, it’s true in my world anyway.

That being said, this Christmas was probably the most peaceful Christmas I’ve had in years. Years and years and years. Which is funny, really, because on paper, it should have been shitty. There are all sorts of issues going on behind the scenes with kids, exes, medical stuff, school struggles, all on top of the regular stresses that come along with life. But I think I found the secret, and it worked, so I want to share it with you guys so that maybe it might help you too.

On December 19th, on the Monday of the week leading up to Christmas, Andrew and I sat down for drinks together and talked about how we were going to make it through the holidays alive. We decided that the best chance of a peaceful Christmas would be if each of us thought of the other person first. It sounds simple, but for us arrogant assholes, it’s not. It took effort, and when family gatherings and Christmas shopping and all the other bullshit that comes with holidaying took up all the energy in our cold little love tanks, we could barely squeeze out enough fucks to give for thinking of the other person before ourselves.

But, like how love always works, letting go always brought back more than what we were worried about losing.

We vowed to each other that whenever we felt like we were starting to get triggered, we’d reach over and hold each other’s hands, or be in each other’s arms, because connection has a way of melting away the static. Even if we were mad, or annoyed, or too tired, we’d remember how important and powerful our love is and we’d reach over anyway, and it worked!

We don’t have any plans at all today really, besides driving the kids here and there and the regular feeding, cleaning and laundry stuff but it feels so good to just chillax and look back at how well we loved each other and our family over the last couple of weeks. I think we need to reward ourselves with a quick pop over to Sneakers for a drinkypoo this afternoon.

I’d ask you what I should order for drinks at Sneakers but you know I’ll just have a Ceasar anyway.

Any holiday survival tips you acquired this season that you want to remember to apply next year?

 

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Helly December 28, 2016, 2:16 pm

    Ben and I are big with connecting on the touch level–we are a very touchy/feely couple lol. But I agree that it really helps us connect. Just yesterday I was leaving to get my hair done and he walked me out and kissed me good bye. Our neighbor saw us and laughed telling us to get a room, lol. It’s those little things though, that I think really keeps us close…

    • Helly December 28, 2016, 2:17 pm

      And that pic of you two is a def framer ♡

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com December 28, 2016, 4:32 pm

      Awww… you guys are so cute! And yes! I totally believe in this. It would be very hard to fake affection like that if one person wasn’t feeling a deep loving connection that transcends moods and circumstances. If one could fake it, then they should probably either be a famous actor or in jail. And thank you for the kind words re the picture. <3

  • Megan @ Meg Go Run December 28, 2016, 5:56 pm

    That’s a really good survival tip! Because after all, the holidays are really about family and togetherness and giving, not ME ME ME. Now I am ashamed to admit I sometimes make Christmas about ME. I freaking love Christmas. I love Christmas so much that I named my cat Christmas. The reason I love the holiday so much is because my parents always made it very special for us. It wasn’t the presents I remember, but it’s going to get the Christmas tree and decorating it as a family, making cookies, setting up the electric train set, decorating the house, playing Christmas music… it is just such HAPPY memories. Looking back, I wonder if my parents were ever stressed about it? If they were, they didn’t let on to use.

    So a couple days before Christmas Paul and I were discussing what time to get to my parent’s house on Christmas morning. He thought the time I wanted to get there was too early but I just trumped him and basically said, “Christmas is my favorite holiday and we can sleep when we’re dead. We’re getting to my parent’s at 9am.”

    Lol. Now I’m going to go talk to him about it.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com December 28, 2016, 7:20 pm

      I read a bunch of research on the whole Christmas thing and the unanimous conclusion was that kids don’t remember their Christmas gifts but they do remember the traditions, and those are what create feelings of connection and happiness. SO THERE. Your story perfectly underlines that point!

      Ha ha! Poor Paul. 😉

  • Susie @ SuzLyfe December 29, 2016, 3:14 am

    Physical connection is so, so powerful. I had a bad reaction to laughing gas that was given to me to put me under for a procedure, and I woke up sobbing uncontrollably. The only way to calm me down? The nurse had to hold my hand. It was LITERALLY THE ONLY WAY I could stop crying. As soon as she took my hand, it was like a wave of breath came over me. She let go? I lost my oxygen. Took about 5-10 minutes before I could control myself.
    I am stingy with touch. I don’t like to be touched unless I invite you into my space first. But when I reach out, I NEED you. Alex is much more touchy, but he has had to learn the balance.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com December 29, 2016, 9:02 am

      See, this makes so much sense to me. I also have a hard time hugging people, or being touched. Well, it depends. Like you said, it’s only a select few that I let into my space first. I have very loud body language so if I’m forced to hug when I don’t want to, the whole room feels it. And the whole city feels it when I need a hug.

  • Lisa @ Mile by Mile December 29, 2016, 3:55 am

    Im so glad you were able to help each other get through the holidays! That was a great idea to talk about it beforehand so you had a plan. I think this year we learned that planning out our traveling in a way that is convenient to us works best. Usually we just go along with what everyone else wants to do and it just gets so crazy!

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com December 29, 2016, 9:01 am

      It was tempting to just push away the tough pre-holiday conversation and just enjoy the last pub hour before the craziness began, because who wants to talk about conflict when everything is going great? But once we dug into it, we felt a lot stronger and much more ready to tackle whatever we were about to face.

  • Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets December 29, 2016, 4:06 am

    Skin on skin contact is such a huge thing for babies and I wonder if it isn’t really the same for adults. We should do a study on this.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com December 29, 2016, 9:00 am

      That’s right! Like how preemie babies do much better with skin to skin contact. Absolutely.

  • Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home December 29, 2016, 11:14 am

    I was pretty preoccupied with my own personal struggle–this RA is throwing me for a loop–and I think that helped keep me quiet for most of the holidays. My younger sister, who has severe mental illness, caused some major uproar even though she wasn’t present. It’s what she does. I feel bad for my parents.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com December 29, 2016, 12:38 pm

      I can see how that diagnosis would be sobering; I’d probably be a lot quieter too. And yeah, people will mental illness certainly do have the knack for steering a ship, eh?

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