How do you survive going home for the holidays? You’ve got your own place (kind of) and a whole new life, yet still they treat you like a child. You’re an adult godammit! Here are some handy tips to help you maintain sanity.
1. Structure Your Time
The holidays can really mess with your head. They create the dangerous illusion of endless time, stretching out forever and ever. You snuggle up in your old stuffed toy fortress and tell yourself you’ve got weeks until you return to real life.
Wakeup call: the holidays are bittersweet bubbles, and all bubbles burst. The more you allow yourself to float in the holiday lacuna, the more you’ll regress into previous patterns, only to question why your new goals suddenly feel grandiose and out of reach.
Of course, enjoy catching up with friends and family. Enjoy some home comforts. But make sure to set aside time to focus on your passion projects: it’s incredibly centring and will help you avoid tearing your sister’s hair out.
2. Catch Up With The Old Crowd
People are notorious for saying the holidays are notorious for family discord. So, I won’t tell you what you already know. If you want to survive going home, a great tension-diffuser is familiar yet non-familial company. Chances are, if you’re back for the holidays then your childhood friends are too, and they’re suffering just as much.
Bemoaning your plight with pals you’ve known for years can be very therapeutic. You’re all in the same strange limbo land, accustomed to the freedoms of adulthood, now finding yourselves accused of alcoholism after two glasses of Cava at a family meal. Like, really?!
Go down to that grimy pub you were banished from after one too many tries with the ole fake IDs. You now have the legal right to drown your sorrows! Grab a few pints and proceed to play the best game ever invented: Remember When.
3. Respect Boundaries
You can survive going home. However, laying down boundaries will help a hell of a lot more than silent, unbridled rage. Respect is a two-way street, so try to resist going full Mariah. Your parents are people too and probably hate the holidays just as much as you do. Seriously.
If you want them to respect your boundaries as a newly formed adult-child, be worthy of that respect. Want to stay out all night? That’s your prerogative! But when you rock up home in the early hours, try to slip up to bed with the silent grace of a deer, not the clumsy rootling and rifling of a truffle pig. People are sleeping, girl.
Likewise, your parents need to know you are no longer a sullen teenager with an iPhone they can confiscate at 10pm every night. It’s up to you where you go and whom you see outside the family home. You’re not going to stay in and practice your wind instrument all day.
4. Stay Connected
It’s easy to forget about the outside world during the holidays. Another smart way to survive going home is to keep your finger on the pulse: engage with university friends, work friends, ideas you’ve been nurturing etc.
You spend a ton of time with your uni/work peers, only to disperse like so many slightly hungover dandelion seeds when the holidays commence. It can be disconcerting. WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat are all fun ways to stay connected to your life away from home.
Link up with those of your new friends based nearby, pick a good cultural hotspot and meet for the day. Seeing some friendly yet fresh faces is a nice way to regroup.
5. Treat Yourself
You’re on a break, after all. We spend so much time discussing the holidays, planning the holidays and arguing over the holidays, we often forget to just relax. To treat ourselves. You’ve endured an awkward afternoon with your passive aggressive cousin and a tearful “life talk” with your mum. Time for a facial, I think.
If you hope to survive going home, you need a treat at the end of the tunnel. The stress of life/university/work can be relentless, so don’t feel bad about indulging a little. Whether it’s a delicious slice of cake or a neon pink mani-pedi, a few festive thrills help lighten the holiday load.