Heading home for the holidays can bring up a lot of uncertainty for many of us. While for some, it is a welcome refuge from the end of quarter stress, many feel anxiety about being home for the next 3 or 4 weeks. Being at home may mean navigating difficult family relationships, being with family of different political affiliations, or being unsure about what rules will apply. Many students develop their own routines, schedules, and habits while at college, and parents may have different rules, schedules and expectations for you.
Many of these uncertainties can be resolved by communicating with your family members. Here are some tips for openly talking with family members:
- If you have big news, share it early or before you get home. This may help open up lines of communication and may help avoid an argument when you arrive home.
- Clarify expectations early. Talk with your family about issues surrounding curfew, chores or other household responsibilities, and rules. Try to negotiate and compromise so everyone can be satisfied. This way everyone knows what to expect from you and you know what to expect from your family.
- Plan how you will spend your time. Many of us want to see old friends when we head home. Parents and family also will want to spend time with us. Making a plan for when to see friends and when to see family will help us balance this tension. Furthermore, letting family know when we will spend time with them may ease pressure because everyone will know what to expect.
- Help out and take on some responsibilities. This will show your family that you appreciate them and help you continue to grow into a self-reliant person.
- Take care of yourself. If family stress or tension becomes overwhelming, make sure you have some strategies you can use to take care of yourself. Consider picking a couple of ideas from the self-care wheel to use during break.
Open communication with your family can head off a lot of conflict. Setting expectations and making a plan of how to spend your time can help make winter break less uncertain and more restorative. Happy Holidays from the Wellness Initiative!