Going home for the holidays can be a wonderful trip to look forward to each year. Visiting with family you don't see very often, partaking in holiday traditions your family has created, and often exchanging gifts can be a joyful way to spend the season. But, it can also stir up a lot of stress.
For those that struggle with family interactions being home for the holidays can be overwhelming. We don't want to let those stresses deter us from spending time with family, though, so how do we take care of ourselves in that environment?
As you approach the holidays, be aware of your mental and emotional limits and needs. It's important to know your limits so that you don't overexert yourself and get burned out. Below are healthy habits you can use no matter where you are that will help keep you on track emotionally.
If you are someone who works out regularly to combat stress, be sure to work out while at home. Pausing your workout routine while home for the holidays could result in you becoming a coil of energy in need of an outlet, which could lead to misplaced frustrations and feelings of being overwhelmed. Get a pass for a local gym or go for a run around the neighborhood.
2. Protect Your Solo Time
Take a break if you need to. Go to a coffee shop for a couple of hours or watch a favorite show on Netflix. Whatever it is, make sure you give yourself a chance to recharge.
3. Say No
Family can sometimes ask for more help than you may be able to offer them. While it's good to lend a hand, don't let yourself be overwhelmed by busy work. Politely let your family know you need a break if you are continuously being asked to participate.
4. Choose an Activity
Instead of sitting around being asked questions about your job and love life for the hundredth time, propose the idea of playing a card game, going shopping, or seeing a movie, and have others do it with you. Having the buffer of an activity with others can help alleviate the stress of carrying on conversations.
5. Take a Shower
If you are staying in a house overcrowded with family and the only alone time you have is in the bathroom; take a long shower or bath. Without realizing it we can carry a great deal of stress in our neck and shoulders. The warm water has a calming effect on your body, which will help restore you. Take however long you need to let the water rejuvenate and relax your muscles.
6. Get 1-on-1 Time
Grab your partner, sibling, or cousin and take a break from the crowded house. Spending intentional time catching up with them will help you stay focused on the positive parts of being home for the holidays.