Whether it’s the uncle who drinks too much or the grandmother who keeps asking when you’re getting married, family has a way of stressing you out when you’re home for the holidays. DANA DA SILVA shares some ideas on how to stay sane when you’re back at the homestead.
1. Simplify travel stress
Whether it’s scheduling a plane or bus trip or packing within the luggage limit, travel can be stressful. To avoid a panic, plan and pack everything ahead of schedule so that all you have to do on the day you travel is turn up.
2. Remember the old days
Sleeping in your old bedroom and squabbling with your siblings has a way of taking us back to the old days, which is not always a good thing. If you find yourself falling back into old roles with parents or siblings, remind yourself that you’re a different person now and try not to let it get to you. You won’t be home forever, after all.
3. Find some time to relax
Once other family members will start to arrive, including the ones that drive you crazy. Try to stay relaxed and calm, no matter what they say or do. Granny nagging you to get married? Uncle asking what exactly you’re doing with your life? Make small talk, and then nip outside for a breather.
4. Set some boundaries
When you’re at home for the holidays sometimes you have to remind your parents that you’re no longer 12 years old and curfews do not apply. You should probably still help out with the chores though.
5. Help to prepare the festive meal
See above re: not being 12 any more. Help out with the festive meal. Save yourself some parental side-eye. Even if cooking or baking is not your thing, you can still whip cream or do the dishes.
6. Pass the potatoes!
Every family has that one topic that you just can’t touch. If someone tries to engage you in a discussion about your political or religious views or whether you’re a Chiefs or Pirates fan, don’t take the bait; just ask them to pass the potatoes.
7. Get out of the house
If you’re getting sick of hearing your grandfather’s stories over and over again, plan an exit strategy and get out of the house. Visit old friends or rediscover your childhood haunts. Just bring the nostalgia.
8. Stick to your exercise routine
Exercise is a great way to relieve pent-up frustration and prevent the development of that vacay spare tyre. While the holidays might be the hardest time to stick to your exercise routine, it is also the most important.
9. Working over the holidays
Sometimes taking work home with you over the holidays can’t be avoided. Working in a house full of visitors can be difficult so find a quiet spot or nip out to the library or café that offers wifi. The sooner you get it done, the sooner you can relax. And even once you’ve finished everything you needed to do, remember, it’s still okay to use work as an excuse to get away from your family when needed.
10. Embrace it
But no matter how crazy they might make us, we go home for the holidays to reconnect with our loved ones. Sometimes that early morning cup of tea with your mum is really all that’s needed make you feel like you’re home.