Home for the Holidays: 5 Self-Care Tips
Being around family doesn’t ignite the same joy in everyone. In fact, most of us usually dread the experience. Not only because our dating life is almost always a topic, but also because the person they know us to be isn’t exactly who we are anymore. We can be out here budgeting our coin, eating relatively healthy, and generally living a positive life, but somehow being around family can temporarily undo all the progress made. It’s like they have married to any negative narrative of who we are and are simply uninterested in seeing us as anything else.
With my family, there was a time when I would feel the need to show who I am and prove my growth so they could leave me alone. I would end up frustrated with the response and inevitably be pulled back into a type they were comfortable with. Now, I sincerely dgaf. I have realized that it is not my work to prove my progress to anyone, especially anyone who is committed to seeing the worst in me. It took me a few tries to get to a place where I don’t feel the need to defend anything about myself to my family, so I want to share some of my practices to stay sane when home for the holidays.
1. Mentally prepare yourself. Meditate, listen to a podcast, read a book, write. If you set your intentions on having a positive day, no one will be able to disrupt that.
2. Go in with no expectations. According to the argument you had with Cousin Trey in your head before you got there, you’re already annoyed. Fight the urge to create your perfect response to him for when he inevitably says something rude.
3. Don’t take the bait. When someone does or says anything passive aggressive or aggressive aggressive, actively choose not to engage. A measure of growth is no longer responding to things the way you used to.
4. You do not have to engage with anyone about your beliefs or choices. You don’t have to argue or talk about your dating life or that time you hurt your grandma’s feelings that no one wants to forget. You do not have to talk about your career choice or lack thereof. You do not have to explain shit.
5. Be compassionate. I decided a while ago that any issue with me is not about me. If Aunt Beulah is nasty and rude, per usual, understand that it is not about you. I remind myself that not everyone is on the journey inward. Not everyone desires to grow and live a reasonably happy life. Don’t take it personal that Grandpa Gus doesn’t show you love. When I decided to love people in spite of them, I adopted the belief that they can’t give me something they never received themselves. Trauma is passed down from generation to generation, take solace in knowing it ends with you.
If you start to feel like being with family is unbearable, you can leave. Be reminded that if you are incapable of doing any of the aforementioned, you are absolutely justified in not visiting your family for the holiday at all. It’s not about upsetting anyone else. It’s about maintaining your peace.