The holidays can be incredibly triggering. There are toxic family members lurking around every corner and “friends” that you have been trying to fade away for entirely too long coming out of the woodwork. You spend all year trying to figure out how to avoid these people, but I am here to talk to you about something that can be super controversial in a civilized society –
You are not required to spend time with anyone that you don’t want to.
Sit with that realization for a minute. Think about all of the moments you’ve spent dreading, agonizing, and worrying about all of your obligations all on in the name of politeness. Think about all of the time that you have spent thinking about everything that you HAVE to do. Stop. You don’t have a voice and a choice, and it’s up to you to use it.
Family stuff can feel tremendous and be very hard to deal with. Not all families are safe, and going back home for the holidays can feel enormous. It can trigger very big feelings resulting in a not so joyous holiday. Family does not always equal safe, and not all childhood homes are filled with happy memories. You have permission to say “no” when it comes to seeing your family. You do what YOU want to do. Set your boundaries and make it your choice to spend time with them. By doing this, you take so much of your power back. If you choose to travel to your family’s home, you’ve already set a more positive tone by making it your decision.
Before you go – prepare, prepare, prepare. How long will you stay? Where are you going to sleep? Where can you go if you need to leave? Are public transportation and rideshares (Uber, Lyft) easily accessible? Will you need a car?
Learn to coexist in the same space as your family. You don’t need to feed into any drama, participate in any gossip, or engage in any arguments. Acknowledge that despite a shared history and being genetically linked, you may have nothing in common. Graciously accept this fact and choose to appreciate them for who they are and accept what they never will be. Just because a person isn’t good for you doesn’t make them a bad person. It just makes them not for you, and that’s ok.
On the other hand, you may have a family member or friend who you share a complicated history with. The same rules apply. It’s not likely that you will get the happy ending that you were hoping for. You are allowed to outgrow a relationship. Appreciate the time you spent together, keep the happy memories, and lovingly let that relationship go.
Honor yourself. No one is going to love you and take care of you better than you. Be conscious of your physical comfort and mental wellbeing. Take breaks – go for a walk, bring a book to read, download some meditation apps, find some AMSR YouTube videos, or get down and play with any kids in your family. If you’re feeling peaceful and playful, the time is so much better spent.
Plan self-care activities and make fun plans for when the holidays are over. Treat yourself to a massage, manicure, or even a luxury spa day. Plan a fun night out (or in!) with your people. Take that class you’ve had your eye on or finally start that side-hustle you’ve been thinking about. You spent so much time focused on surviving its time to move on to what is going to get you to thrive!