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Dealing with not so happy holidays

While the holiday season brings joy to many, it can be equally distressing to others.

Broadway Square Christmas Tree.jpg
The Christmas Tree at Broadway Square in downtown Fargo.
Jay Dahl / WDAY News
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FARGO — With the holiday season upon us, this time of the year can be one of the most stressful for those living with anxiety and depression.

While family gatherings can be a great source of joy, those who have to host the events can be put under immense pressure to please the crowd.

Family may be together with members they'd rather avoid. Furthermore, it can serve to highlight those who are no longer at the table.

Sanford Health Licensed Associate Professional Counselor Kayla Salathe says that with many having lost loved ones since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has made these issues that much more widespread.

"There's that reminder that someone's missing, whether that person passed away around this time of year or any time else in the year," Salathe said. "Just that physical presence of those loved ones not being with us can be difficult for many people."

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But Salathe also says there are a number of ways you can deal with negative emotions stemming from the holidays.

If you're feeling overwhelmed at a family gathering, feel free to step out and get some fresh air, Salathe says.

While there is no single solution for dealing with these feelings, Salathe believes acknowledging their existence is a start and that it's important to follow what you know helps you cope.

"This is a giving season, and I'd really encourage people to add yourself to that list of people you need to give to. Give yourself a break, if that's what's needed," Salathe said.

But Salathe also emphasizes that spending time with others is important, and to choose to be around those who bring them joy as best they can.

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