A blog written by Women’s Center student staff member Ciera Earl
November. It has been a month of triumph for some, but a great loss for most of us. While this month is coming to an end and the holiday season is beginning, it’s important to know how to handle the obstacles that may come with going home or visiting families during this time of year.
I know for myself, being around family is very difficult. Whether it’s from the constant questions about the future, my love life, or whatever “phase” I’m in this time – my anxiety goes through the roof. I’m sure many can relate.
But that actually bothers me. It’s unfortunate that in some way, shape, or form this is relatable for so many people.
Be that as it may, it’s important that while passing the gravy and dodging topics that you come first. Having a self-care plan can be a way to prepare for the challenges that come with the holiday season and families.
Here are a few tips on how to survive the holidays with family:
Set Boundaries. Remember, you have a choice.
Sometimes it can feel like an obligation to join in on the festivities – honestly I feel obligated to do everything – but it’s important to understand that you do not have to commit yourself to being apart of these events. If you choose to visit family, set clear boundaries. For instance, having safe space to stay can be a way to create comfort and safety for yourself. This way if you feel uncomfortable or need a break you have a separate space to go.
Be aware of your anxiety. Notice when your tension levels are rising, and let yourself feel them. Feelings in and of themselves aren’t necessarily harmful – the actions resulting from those feelings are the real kicker, and quite often those actions happen because feelings are so bottled up that the pressure forces an explosion. Often, simply noticing and naming the anxiety can calm it.
When you notice tensions levels rising give yourself an out. If you have to spend an extended amount of time with family, work some down time into the schedule. Removing yourself from the situation can be vital.
Remember, this is temporary.
This maybe the hardest of them all. Most of us can survive anything for a small period of time. However, if a situation arises that you feel you may not be able to handle, by all means, remove yourself!
Take care of yourself.You know what you need to do to be healthy. Give yourself permission to be human.
While these tips are not all the ways to respond and react to you family, it’s a good place to start. Here are some more resources on how to respond and handle family during this time, particularly for those in the LGBTQ community:
- LGBT and Heading Home for the Holidays?
- A Gay in the Life: How to handle family during the holidays
- LGBT and Home for the Holidays? 7 Tips on How to Deal
- LGBT Problems: When Going Home for Thanksgiving Is Simply Too Awkward
It’s in times like these that I live by these wise words:
“You is kind, you is smart, you is important.” – Aibileen Clark