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Family & the Holidays- December 2015

Good morning Jumbos! I hope this not-at-all-wintery winter day finds you all well and reasonably sane during this hectic finals period.  Winter Break is fast approaching (and has already begun for some of us) and while many of us are excited for sleep, good food, and a chance to spend time with family, for others the holidays aren’t always something to look forward to.  Whether you aren’t spending them with the people you’d like to, or perhaps your family isn’t as accepting as you’d like, below are some tips for dealing with family and the holidays.

  1. Pick your battles. If the problem is family members who are difficult to be around due to their beliefs, sometimes you have to pick your battles.  This doesn’t mean compromising your values, just realizing and accepting that constantly being at odds with them is detrimental to your mental health.  You deserve to enjoy your holidays, and sometimes that means shelving some issues for a more opportune time.

  2. Reach out.  If you feel lonely or isolated when you’re home for the holidays, don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends.  Just because they’re home doesn’t mean they won’t want to talk to you.  You aren’t bothering them.  Friends are meant to support you – so let them support you.

  3. Don’t give up healthy habits – but also don’t stress about some cheat days.  Eating healthily and exercising are all good for your mental health.  But the holidays are also a time for eating and sleeping in excess.  Try to strike a balance between both, as both are important for your mental health.

  4. Seek professional help if you need/want it.  There’s no shame in getting help, and it is better than struggling through the holidays in hopes that depression/anxiety/etc will pass.

  5. Finally, don’t be afraid to switch things up.  If traditional family holidays are stressful and fuel anxiety and/or depression, try to identify which aspects of the holidays are stressful to you, and do what you can to change them.  I’ll repeat: You deserve to enjoy your holidays.

“Holidays are about experiences and people, and tuning into what you feel like doing at that moment. Enjoy not having to look at a watch.” –Evelyn Glennie

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