Holidays have always been hard for me. Too many sights, smells, and sounds. Too many specialty Holiday foods with strange textures and stronger tastes. Still the fall and winter months are my favorite and I have developed coping strategies to deal with the more boisterous side of winter and it’s Holidays.

The cold weather is usually a boon for me, and allows me to do my favorite outside activity. Walking is much easier for me to do in colder months. I do not sweat or over heat, and I don’t have to worry about mosquitos biting into my flesh. I am a big man, there is a lot of flesh they bite at.

When things get too loud and bright indoors during family dinner I can go outside. The cold blasts away my worry and anxiety and let’s me focus on my breathes and body the way meditation does. The cold is therapeutic for me, and likely the only reason Holidays are somewhat easy to overcome.

When it is too cold, even for me, I retreat to my room and open the windows. When the cold itself is not enough I add music or my dogs to the mix.

Petting my dogs is enough to get me out of a panic attack, they are great companions to have around. But during the Holidays they like to be in the kitchen around the people cooking. And as their food and water are there I leave them to the kitchen when I need to hide out in my room.

Often during the Holiday months I cocoon myself in my room and bed, under multiple blankets of soft material. I push against the wall to feel pressure along that point of my body. The windows will be open or my fan will be on high. My phone will be playing music or a video of someone playing a video game. I will focus on the warmth of my cocoon. This is my respite when I am over stimulated from the smells of Holiday decorations and cooking.

Some years of Holidays are harder than others. Sometimes my tricks don’t work. But I’ve always survived them.

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