Holiday Survival Guide
Holidays can be difficult for those who grew up in toxic homes. So here are my holiday reminders.
It’s okay and healthy to love family from afar if need be.
It’s okay to prioritize your emotional and physical well-being. Think through what you want to do for the holidays and where problems might arise and plan ahead for how to deal with them. If you decide to go home for the holidays to a family that is less than supportive, here are some important things to consider: Where to stay?
Just because you’re going home doesn’t mean you have to stay at home. By staying in a hotel, or with a friend or other (supportive) family member, can provide a buffer or refuge if dealing with your family becomes too much.
Plan for self-care. Is there a friend or animal you could bring? Make plans with friends in the area so you can take a break from family.
Plan for taking a walk if emotions get intense. Know the local crisis lines, AA/NA meetings, and other resources available to you. It’s okay to set boundaries with family about what kind of behavior you won’t tolerate. And then have a plan for what to do if your boundaries are violated. Prep your support network on what type of support you might need at this time and then make sure to reach out and ask for it!
If the holidays are simply too painful to engage in, that’s okay too. In that case, it’s important to plan ahead for how you want to spend the day and how to minimize the impact of society’s focus on the holidays (staying off social media for example).
Perhaps now is the time to book that cruise to Mexico or having a movie marathon and sleep over with friends.
Giving back and volunteering at various shelters or non-profits is also a good way to get involved, with the added benefit of getting your mind otherwise occupied.