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What Being Too Sick for Thanksgiving Taught Me This Year

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So, I did a post last year about surviving the holidays and how to take care of yourself. But this year, I realized it isn’t always about what you and your family can do to ensure all parties make it through this wonderful time of the year. I realized that during this time of year, you need to ensure you set boundaries and make sure you are practicing self-care.

This year, I have not been doing so well. I have had some ups and downs and now that Thanksgiving is upon us, I have realized I am in no condition to attend my family’s dinner. Between the preparation of my own food, the travel to dinner and back, and then being put to work even though I am not feeling well, it would all be too much. See, in most black families, Thanksgiving is a huge deal. There is a ton of food and it takes a lot of work to put together. However, my dietary restrictions don’t quite fit into this, so I have to cook my own food and desserts and bring them. This causes a stir-up of questions from family members, even though we’ve had this conversation for several years now. But this year is different. I am feeling too sick to make my foods like I normally do, and have not enough energy to travel and work all day either. I also have to work the day after and I am exhausted already just thinking about all of this.

I contemplated on how I would tell my family. I also contemplated if I should push through for the sake of tradition. But I can’t. My body can’t take it. I need to take care of myself. Sometimes we feel like we will hurt someone when, at the end of the day, we will end up hurting ourselves more. That’s why boundaries are oh-so-important during the holidays. If you can’t do it, then don’t. If you can’t make it, oh well. Don’t hurt yourself trying to do things when you know others won’t be there to help you if you go downhill. It has taken me until this year to learn this.

I called my mom and let her know I wasn’t coming this year and expected the wrath of God. But surprisingly, she was calm and understanding and slightly concerned. I didn’t explain much; I just said I can’t do it and she got it this time. Finally. But, it taught me a lesson of how important it is to set your boundaries and stick to them. Your health legit depends on it.

So this holiday season, remember that your physical and mental health matters. No dinner, social gathering or anything else should put so much stress on you that you feel even sicker than you do on a regular basis. And saying “no” or having boundaries set is 100% “normal” and OK. For your well-being, it is almost necessary in order to make it through this time of the year because, at the end of the day, your health comes first!

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

Originally published: November 22, 2019
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