Surviving the holiday with anxiety

How To Survive Your Hometown Holiday

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.

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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

Photo From Pixabay
Photo From Pixabay

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.

Set Boundaries

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 posts!

Had to throw that one in there. 🙂

Do it for love and Happy Whatever Doesn’t Offend You,



  1. Shann Eva

    Great ideas. The holidays with families can be stressful, so these are great suggestions .

  2. Colleen B

    This is a really helpful list! I know for so many people a time that should be filled with peace and joy is made stressful by expectations and the things you mention. I like you tips for handling things, I live so far from my family so I am super excited when I get to go home and I happily don’t have trouble with these things but I understand so easily how it can happen!

  3. Deniza

    Family gatherings can be soo boring. Especially if you are one of the youngest, like me! Enjoyed this post, thank you 🙂 xoxo Deniza (from FB group)

  4. Dia

    Thanks Shann! I love my family but its nice to break it up and mix it up

  5. Dia

    Haha thats great! I have enough distance I dont get random stopbys but not so much I cant drive into town for holidays or emergencies. Plus the wifi has been down so I’ve been working via hotspot thank heaven for rollover data lol

  6. Dia

    Lol yes my mom and her siblings with kids are about 15 years apart so my first cousins are closer to my mom in age than me and then their kids are much younger than me so I’m in the awkward in between group

  7. Holly Laurel

    Hey Dia! This is such good advice. It really can be difficult learning to interact with your family again when you aren’t around them in person during the rest of the year. I have a friend who just moved to San Antonio from New York last year. She likes it a lot there.

  8. Jenny

    All great tips 🙂
    Thanks for sharing.

    xoxo, Jenny

  9. Dia

    Thanks for stopping by Jenny 🙂

  10. Dia

    I love it here! It’s a great balance of big city and small town. Plus the sense of community you get here is great. Hope you have a wonderful holiday and that these tips help.

  11. Roxy

    Holidays with family can be super stressful. I currently live in the same city I grew up in (subsequently where my family is) and I’m still stressed when the holidays come. I’ll definitely be utilizing a few of these tips and continuing to have my own little celebrations with my boyfriend at our apartment before we head out to see our families.


  12. April Ray

    “I’m not saying I can’t handle being around my family sober but a glass of wine doesn’t hurt.” Right!!? LOL! These are really great tips, and maan I will be needing them this year! Great post, thank you for sharing!

  13. Dia

    Haha I didn’t want to make them sound bad but it was very helpful during Thanksgiving lol

  14. Dia

    Thats awesome. Sounds like you will have an awesome time. I sometimes wish my family lived closer and that after the hoiay activities my own bed was 4+ hours away lol

  15. Erin

    Love all these ideas. My favorite is Bring Your Routine With You. Whenever I go home for the holidays, I’m a pile of lazy bones. It’s so smart to keep up your routines while you’re home instead of turning into a lazy person who doesn’t help others or continue to focus on self. Thanks for these ideas!
    One thing I really like to do when I go home is go on a hike. I live in a big city now, so it’ soooo nice to return to NATURE when I get home 🙂

  16. Dia

    Yes I hate myself when I get back home from a visit over 2 days. My bones feel stiff and I feel over whelmed and behind. So if I can do a little writing or eat some of the “weird” health food, my mom doesn’t understand then I feel a little better.

  17. Emily

    This is a great list! It also reminded me of the recent Thanksgiving SNL skit with Adele… If you haven’t seen that you need to check it out.

  18. Dia

    I just watched it lol if only Adele could really stopped family fights. Thanks for he suggestion 🙂

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