Today’s AWAP Wednesday video is a quickie, and an importantie: I want to make sure you know it’s OK to be sad during the holidays.

(Bonus: today’s video is illustrated with tons of my favorite Christmas and wintertime photos, because it’s a super-bad hair day here at ChronicBabe HQ.)

It’s the most wonderful (and sad) time of the year

In large swaths of the world, people get sad during this time of year because it’s winter. It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s gloomy. There are fewer hours of sunlight, and many of us experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I mean, it’s all in the name, right?

Many of us also experience some sadness around the holidays for emotional reasons: We feel a sense of loss because we’re not as healthy as we once were. We feel stressed because we’re spending more time with family and friends who may love us but don’t really understand us, and they sometimes put their foot in their mouth. We do what we can to cope, but our feelings are more easily hurt.

And many of us experience very real stress from financial difficulty; we can’t buy all the presents we want to, we may be stretching ourselves really thin to make sure our kids get their wishes granted—and societal pressures keep us striving, sometimes past our limits. This is incredibly stressful.

Finally, in the U.S., it’s the final few days of open enrollment for health insurance, and if you’re like me, the process of finding a new provider for 2016 has been grueling. My coverage is going to be significantly more expensive next year, so I’m entering the winter holiday season (and shopping season) knowing I’ll need to tighten my belt a little more starting in January.

Woo hoo! It’s a party. Ugh.

So I’m feeling sad. Some days, really really sad. I have to work to get out of bed and be productive, and I’m asking my friends and family for lots of extra help and support this time of year. I lean on a wide variety of people (including my healthcare professionals) for support because I know that they, too, are already spread thin.

Maybe you’re feeling sad, too. And I want you to know that it’s OK.

I’ve been fighting it. I’ve been feeling like a jerk for feeling sad. I mean, whoa—way to pile on, Jenni!

But a very smart, trusted person in my life reminded me the other day that it’s OK to be sad. It’s not a sign of being less-than, and it’s not weakness. It’s a feeling about some very real shit going down in my life. And it will pass.

And I know some tried-and-true things that can make my days less sad, which include social activities, time with my friends and their kids; cooking and sharing food with others; singing, all the time; taking walks when it’s not too snowy or rainy; eating healthy foods and not just filling up on Christmas cookies; sticking to my daily yoga and meditation routine; taking my meds faithfully and correctly; asking for help when I need it; focusing on gratitude for what I do have, every day; and many, many more.

So I’m here, feeling a bit sad, but also knowing that you and I, babe, we’re connected. If you’re sad too, it’s OK. If you need support, it’s OK. If you want to give yourself permission to miss out (PTMO) on a holiday party because you’re just not feelin’ it, it’s OK. It’s OK. You’re OK. I’m OK. It’s all good.

Do what you know helps you get through the days, and I hope that as you keep practicing each day, you’ll remember that it’s OK to be a little sad. You can let yourself recognize the emotion, honor it, and then also open your heart to all the happiness this time of year has to offer. There’s room for both.

*AWAP = As Well As Possible

Now it’s your turn:

How do you cope with sadness during the holidays and winter months? What helps make it better? I wanna know! Join the conversation in the comments below, share your experience and ask for advice from our community.

Want to watch more videos like this? Check out our AWAP Wednesday video playlist, which has almost 10 hours of guidance, advice, and bloopers.

Is there a question I can answer for YOU? Add it to the comments below, or shoot me an email.

Until we meet again: Be AWAP! Smooches!