In this episode of Creatives Crushing Anxiety, I share tips for keeping your anxiety at bay during your family visits. It is the most wonderful time of the year but it’s also the time where depression, anxiety and stress are at a all time high. Here are a few tips to survive going to your hometown during the holidays.
I love living alone. I’ve had that privilege for nearly 7 years. I also love San Antonio, which I’ve been a resident of for over 11 years. One major thing I love about where I live now is how different it is from my hometown. I love my family but I am from a very small town and being there for more than two days after living in the “big city” for 8 years can feel a little like torture.
But maybe that isn’t your problem when you go home for the holidays. Maybe your older siblings still treat you like you’re 6. Perhaps you have different religious views as an adult than your parents do. Maybe you have nothing in common with your cousins. Maybe you really just like your own space and even if it’s family that many people makes you feel a little anxious.
Whatever you dread about going home for the holidays here are a few tips to make the trip more enjoyable.
Make Plans to Meet An Old Friend
You can have too much of a good thing, and that includes family time. While your mom may give you, “Christmas is about family,” speech as you head out the door for happy hour with your childhood friends it really benefits the family to take a break from non-stop togetherness.
Every Christmas Eve once my parents go to bed I go and have a few drinks with my friends from high school. It’s the perfect excuse to get out of the house and feel some of the independence I’ve grown to love.
Act Like An Adult
One thing a lot of young adults hate about going back home is that their family seems to be stuck in the past when it comes to how old they are. Short of actually sitting them at the kid’s table they pretty much spend the entire holiday treating them the same way they have all their lives.
Instead of throwing a tantrum to get them to stop, handle it like an adult.
If your boss treated you like you weren’t a good worker would you pout or would you work hard to show what you’re capable of?
Hopefully the latter.
Tell your family about your life as an adult. Talk about your goals and plans for obtaining them. Try to provide insightful responses to the conversation instead of sitting in the corner watching them as you did as a child.
Finally, accept that these people have known you since before you discovered your fingers. No matter how much you impress them in certain aspects they will still see you as a kid. Try not to take it too personally. Most of your family probably remember where you were born and it’s hard to wrap their mind around you being a full grown adult when they only get to see you a few times a year.
Offer To Help
Hosting is stressful. Offer your hostess a break (whoever the hostesses may be: dad, mom, sister, uncle, aunt, grandparent, whoever). If it’s setting the table, getting guest refills or chopping celery, any little thing will be appreciated.
If the host doesn’t feel like they are doing everything they will be a lot less stressed and there will be a lot less tension and frustration in the air.
Plus being helpful will keep you busy, make you feel useful and show how grown up you’ve become.
Bring a Flask
I’m not saying I can’t handle being around my family sober but a glass of wine doesn’t hurt. In my case my parents don’t drink so we don’t have alcohol during holidays (something I didn’t realize was missing from the festivities until spending Thanksgiving with friends and their families the past few years). Part of the great thing about being an adult is you’re allowed to drink! So if your family does drink tell Cousin Pam to pass the adult cider!
Bring Part of Your Current Routine With You
Do you run every morning?
Do you end every night listening to a guided meditation?
Can you not fall asleep until you’ve unwinded with a little F.R.I.E.N.D.S on Netflix?
Don’t think because you aren’t at home you can’t still have some normalcy in your schedule. Instead of pouting because your gym doesn’t have a local branch where you’re spending the holiday, see if one of your relatives wants to take a walk with you or if your sister wants to bust out one of your mom’s old jazzercise DVDs.
Don’t abandon the things that keep you happy just because you’re not in your regular environment.
The holidays are meant for loved ones and good times. Do what you can to unplug and stop working. Of course, I know during certain times like after Thanksgiving you or a client may be launching something big like a sale or special. Do what you can to get as much done ahead of time. It’s vital for you to set boundaries beforehand. If you absolutely have to do work over the holiday set the expectation when you will be online and when you won’t. If possible find a place to be alone when you’re working so you can work more efficiently. It’s hard to proof an email when your cousin’s two-year-old is throwing a tantrum two-feet away.
Make The Most Of It
For better or worse these loud and crazy humans are your family and they love you. Enjoy the time you have with them before you don’t have them anymore. Life is short and loved ones should be appreciated.
And one last thing….
Catch up on Allthethingsido.com posts!
Had to throw that one in there. 🙂
Do it for love and Happy Whatever Doesn’t Offend You,