How to Survive Your Family During the Holidays
How can I figure out how to build boundaries around my family during the holidays? I love them, but it can be a little overwhelming, especially since I’m so used to doing my own thing. Sometimes, I just need some alone time (unfortunately they don’t always get that).
The holidays are stressful for about a million reasons, but 24/7 family time is usually at the top of the list. Not because family’s not great—it is, obviously!—but there’s something about this time of year where everyone’s feelings are heightened. Whether it’s about religion, politics (which deserves an article of its own), or your love life, the most sensitive topics tend to come up. And it doesn't help that they often arise in the middle of dinnertime, when you’re halfway through your green bean casserole.
If you’re an independent person—maybe you live far away, or high school keeps you so busy you’re out of the house often—it’s a lot to suddenly be stuck at home surrounded by family members, some of whom you haven’t seen in years. But don’t worry! It’s totally possible to put in the required facetime (and quality time) without feeling like a huge grinch.
Being at home can make you feel like you’re 10 again. But you’re not, because unlike when you were 10, you’re not helpless. Even if you’re forced to wear coordinated outfits with your entire family and pretend to smile while a photographer tells you to say “Falalala.” Even if you have to watch all three Home Alone movies with your 8-year-old cousin. Even if you have to spend an entire afternoon meticulously peeling potatoes because your mom told you to. Grin and bear it (it’s the holidays, after all), but you can—and should!—still make time for you.
Be a little selfish, only for a little bit. Grab a book and hide. Put on a face mask and insist that you cannot leave the bathroom for an hour. Go for a run, do some yoga, take a bath, make art. Do whatever you need to stay ~zen~, even when it feels impossible.
Or, if you need to put in some required family time, suggest doing a group activity outside your house. Go for a hike together. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Go see a movie. Check out a new restaurant in your town. Sometimes a change of scenery is all it takes to boost your mood. Not to mention, appreciate everything you have (including your annoying little brother and overbearing parents).
And the bright side? Holidays are temporary. You only have to get through a few days, maybe a week tops, and then life will return to normal (or your own version of normal). Until next year, that is.