It’s the first winter break of your college career. You’ve gone this long with the freedom a college student gets when they move away from home. You miss your family, but not enough to give that freedom up for an extended period of time. And, if you’re a freshman in college, your parents are probably expecting the same person they dropped off to start a new chapter. In some sense, you are still the same person you were in September, but you’ve probably seen newer things you wouldn’t have seen at home, which can change a person one way or another. And it’s not just you that’s had to make an adjustment, it’s your parents as well. Adjusting to an empty nest means they might have made some sort of changes while you were gone. Here are some tips to help deal with your parents during this winter break.
1. Get any big news out of the way
First things first, any major life changes that have occurred before winter break that didn’t get discussed over Thanksgiving should probably get put out there before you even step in the house. Whether it’s only a new person of interest, or some sort of body modification, letting them know what’s been going down while you were away helped build that sense of trust. It helps ensure to the folks that you can come to them like the growing adult you’re becoming. Also, anything to prevent a homecoming argument.
2. Set expectations
You may have gotten a glimpse of your parents’ expectations over Thanksgiving break. But since you’re going to be crashing at their house for a good couple of weeks, it’s important to get a better idea. Talk to them about what they expect of you, but also, set some expectations for yourself. You may be staying under their roof, but it is important to find that middle ground that everyone can agree upon. As weird as it is to say, you’re all adults here. There’s nothing wrong with negotiating, as long as it’s calm and from a realistic point of view.
3. Take care of yourself
After all those all-nighters preparing for those exams, your brain has probably turned into a bowl of mashed potatoes, all mush. This lengthy break is the perfect opportunity to let your mind and body relax. Give yourself a spa day; get a refreshing face mask, take a hot bubble bath, maybe even invite your mom to get your nails done. Give yourself a little treat, like a milkshake or some of your favorite chocolate. Whatever you prefer, just remember that you’ve worked so hard, and you deserve it.
4. Stay busy
Probably one of the surest ways to get your parents off your back is by keeping yourself busy. Make a plan to hang out with those friends you haven’t seen in awhile, go to a show to see your favorite band. It’s also important to keep the folks up to date with any winter break plans, in case of other family obligations. If you don’t have anything planned, go for a run or get some other form of exercise. That’s a sure way to get your parents off your case for being “lazy”.
Since winter break is probably the longest your university is giving, it’s the perfect opportunity to catch some much-needed z’s. sure, your little twin XL sized bed at college may be comfy, especially with the mattress pad. But, there’s always something about the bed in the room you grew up in that makes it feel extra cozy. The cozier the bed, the more it could release from the stress of finals week. Trust me, you’ll want to take advantage of all the sleep you can get.
6. Snuggle with pets
Whether they’re your own or your best friend’s, getting cozy with a furry companion never leaves anyone not smiling. They enjoy your company just as much as you enjoy theirs, and they don’t judge you for eating twelve cookies in one sitting. Studies have also shown that petting a cat or dog is therapeutic, as it releases a hormone called oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone”. So you not only get a judgment-free company, but you also get a release from stressful student life. Maybe you’d even be more refreshed when you go back.
7. Let them cook for you
You’ll definitely realize this when you come home; nothing beats a nice, homecooked meal. If your parents are like mine, the food they make just naturally tastes so much better. And by now, you’re probably already sick of the food they’re serving at the commons. If the folks want to cook for you, let them make as many homecooked meals as they want. It’s small things like this that show your appreciation for them made it this far. Besides, when you’re out on your own after college, that’s when you’re going to miss your parents cooking the most. So, soak it up while you can.
8. Go on a Binge watch marathon
You’re on winter break. Unless you have a job, you really don’t have many responsibilities to worry about until you go back for the new quarter/semester. In fact, that’s the whole point of breaks; to not have those worries/responsibilities that you already deal with on the daily. So, it’s a perfect time to binge-watch your favorite shows/movies without feeling too guilty. It could even be a little bit of a bonding experience if you get your parents to watch with you.
9. Help out around the house
Though it sucks doing chores around the house you haven’t lived in for the past few months, it is another way to show your gratitude for the support your parents have given you up to when you left for school. They took care of you up until that point, and the more gratitude you show, the more off your case the folks will be.