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Relationships Self-Care

Dealing with your Family at Christmas

It’s coming to that time of year again! Cold dark evenings, Mulled wine, Christmas markets, Tacky jumpers and the hope that your nan won’t try and regift you the socks you gave her last year. Christmas can be a magical time of year, spending time with your loved ones and hoping that gift you bought them hits the mark. But this time of year can also cause a lot of stress and anxiety. 

You might feel like you’ve changed since you last saw everyone – whether it’s physically, mentally or both. Coming back from living away from home can be tricky. You’ve been living your best life away from home, being able to go anywhere and do anything at your own pace without needing to tell anyone. It can be hard to fit back into that home life rhythm. But never fear, we’re here to help you navigate the holiday season.

Ask who is coming

This might seem so simple it’s silly, but sometimes asking ahead of time can help you alleviate your concern of who’s coming. There might be a rumour between you and your siblings that that family member is coming over for the day or that you’ll have to share a room with your two cousins as there’s not a lot of room to go around. It helps you prepare for the incoming guests, and helps manage your expectation of the day. If the person you’re worried about hasn’t been asked around yet, maybe it could open up a conversation about what bothers you about them – you might not be alone with those thoughts. Asking ahead helps you be prepared and not caught off guard for a surprise visit. 

Set boundaries

It’s an exciting time of year with a lot of expectations for the day. It’s easy to feel socially fatigued or just a bit overwhelmed with the whole thing! From talking non stop with family you haven’t seen in ages, to a long list of games and activities that have been planned for everyone to take part in – you might find yourself finding it all a bit much. 

You might have a relative/family member that has very different opinions and views to you and just LOVES to debate. Be empowered to walk away from the conversation if you feel like you’re getting nowhere or if you feel like they are personally attacking you. If they aren’t listening to your views and experiences then you don’t have to listen to theirs. Setting healthy boundaries with your nearest and dearest can make the entire time at home much more enjoyable. 

If you find the constant socialising and chatting very draining, then maybe allow yourself some time away from the crowd to be still and quiet. If you find that there’s a clash of opinions or rants coming up – then find a way to remove yourself from the conversations if you’d rather not debate. Maybe excuse yourself by helping with something in another room or saying you’ve got a quick gaming session with a friend.

hands, sparklers, fire, winter

Take time for yourself

Before you go home for Christmas, maybe write down a list of things you enjoy doing on your own. This means when you’re overwhelmed and need some time for yourself, you’ve already got an array of options ready to go. Whether it’s reading a book, playing a game or being on a much loved app – sometimes taking time for yourself helps. 

If your family are wondering why you’re on your own, be honest and say you just need some time away – but you will be back once you’re fully charged!

Time a conversation at the right time

There’s a time and a place for everything, and sometimes tempers and voice levels rise after a lot of time together. If you want a heart to heart, maybe don’t pick the time when someone is in the middle of cooking or falling asleep watching whatever is on TV. You want someone’s full attention so get them when they won’t be looking over your shoulder at the turkey cooking in the oven! On that note, be aware if people have had a little too much to drink – too much alcohol can make people say and do things they don’t mean. So make sure they’re in the right state to be having the conversation you are hoping for.

Be open about your time with your friends and family

If your parents are divorced and you are splitting your time between them, or if your home friends want you out with them but your family wants you home for dinner. It can feel like you are being pulled here, there and everywhere.

It’s good to let people know that you’ve got a lot of people you need to see, and that you’re trying your best. Think to yourself who you NEED to see, and who might have a meet up in the New Year. Everyone has places and people they need to be, so it’s good to be honest with people about why you can’t make that Christmas Eve hang. 

If you can’t see everyone, don’t feel guilty – you are trying your best! 


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