Holiday Survival Guide
Here are some ideas to help you survive the holidays:
You don’t need to tolerate disrespect or abuse, even from family. You have the right to speak up. You don’t need to put up with comments about your weight, your date, your clothes, or your gender.
You don’t have to go to an event if it makes you uncomfortable. It doesn’t matter if it’s tradition, traditions can change and sometimes need to.
It is okay to set boundaries with your family, especially with family.
Take breaks as needed. You can go on a walk, take a nap, go see friends, take a shower, rest in your room, go to the bathroom and do some deep breathing, self-soothing, or grounding exercises.
Bringing a friend for emotional support.
If you can’t bring anyone set up a plan with a friend to text you to check in periodically.
It is not too much to expect family to use your correct name and/or pronouns. It is okay to remind them, recruit others who may be supportive to help with reminders and correcting.
It is not too much to expect your abuser to not be invited to celebrate with you.
Come up with a plan for how to address issues you expect to come up. We may not be able to plan for every eventuality, but you know your family and the things that are most likely to be an issue.
Recruit others who will be present to plan for how they can buffer or support you.
You get to decide who you hug or talk to, you get to make those choices and you don’t need to give in to pressure to act outside your comfort zone.
Have an escape plan if it is all too much, too triggering or too uncomfortable.
Bring items that can help you ground or soothe yourself.
Remember you can leave at any time, not matter what your family thinks.
You don’t have to be with your family if it is harmful for you, you have a choice.
Don’t expect to heal old wounds or for your family to have changed.
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