8 Tips For Dealing With Family This Holiday Season
The Holiday season has arrived, and for some, that can often come with the stress of going home and dealing with family members who are more frustrating than they are comforting. We can have a love-hate relationship with going home and enjoying time with our family and can sometimes feel like we can only tolerate the annoying, personal, and intrusive holiday culture for so long. Sometimes going home is literally dreaded, though we do it for the sake of being with family. Whether going home for the holidays is something you do for you, or something you do to be with those you love and hold dearly, here are 8 self-care tips to practice this holiday season, focused on loving yourself and promoting your health primarily.
If going home or being with family isn’t good for you, then don’t feel guilty about celebrating with friends.
I felt like this one was important to put first because it precedes everything that follows. We can often feel obligated to entertain our ignorant and aggressive family members because we’re bonded by blood or creed. Yet, unhealthy relationships don’t just come in romantic forms – they’re familial too. If staying away is better for your peace and health, then keep your distance and send your love.
2. Remember, you don’t owe anyone an explanation for the way you choose to live your life.
Whatever path you are on is one you have chosen to travel. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for why you have chosen to travel the way you have, who you have chosen to travel with, how, or when. The only person you owe anything to is yourself. Even when prying eyes and mouths try to overwhelm you, remember this: You are whoever you choose to be and no one can take that from you. You are worthy as you are. You do not have to wait for someone else to find value in you in order to be valuable.
3. You are entitled to your privacy.
This goes hand-in-hand with the above point but you are entitled to your privacy. You don’t have to provide any information that you don’t want to. You don’t have to divulge every detail of your day to day life or the things and/or people you’re struggling with. Cultivate healthy relationships and confide in those you trust but otherwise, understand there is a difference between privacy and secrecy and you are entitled to the private aspects of your life.
4. The dinner table is not a sociopolitical battlefield.
If you feel like you’re going to have an aneurysm from all of the ignorance being spat on your plate in between your mac n cheese and sweet potatoes, realize you have a choice – albeit a bit uncomfortable and awkward: leave the table. Go to the bathroom. Go wherever you can to regroup (probably not your bedroom because your cousins are most likely in there trying to play a game). Even if you’re asked your thoughts, sometimes silence and pseudo-submission can be self-care and a form of survival.
5. You don’t have to fix your family.
It is not your job to hold the weight of the world, or the weight of all of your family members combined. There is a difference between loving people and wanting them to improve themselves for happier, healthier lives, and bearing the weight of all of their mistakes, stressors, and shortcomings. You have to work on yourself in order to be able to give anything to someone else. You cannot give what you don’t have, and furthermore, you should not drain yourself for the sake of someone else feeling full.
6. Take a break.
Holidays are literally just that. They are moments of recreation where no work is done, where you are intended to relax and unwind. If your holiday is starting to feel like it is in no way relaxing, take a break. If you can or if you need to, break yourself away from the festivities and intensity of the moment or whatever unfavorable emotion is building up in you so you can regroup and then return calmer.
7. The only person you truly have to make proud is yourself.
I know that going home can often feel like you have to have the next 5-10 years of your life planned out to present to everyone in a power point but you don’t have to have your whole life figured out by the next holiday just so you can inform your family. Take things one step at a time and work to make yourself happy in the process. In the end if you are unhappy with yourself, you aren't going to find happiness. Living to please others only leads to a dead end and depression. Live for you.
8. Remember to cultivate kindness and gratitude.
You don't have to have the perfect trip home to maintain kindness and your family doesn't have to be perfect for you to be grateful for however abundance manifests healthily in your life. Remember to give thanks and reflect on these moments, grow from them, be gentle with yourself, nourish love in yourself first and foremost, then for others to learn and love from.
All in all, holidays aren’t easy but hopefully you can find some happiness this holiday season and enjoy time with those you love and who love you.
As always, sending love.
- Ashley Mae
Here is a worksheet of affirmations available for download to use as a screensaver or to print and hang wherever you’d like!
Photo by Annie Sprat via Unsplash.com