Is Ho-Ho-Ho your hell-hell-hell? For lots of girls who have less-than-perfect home lives (but really, whose is perfect?!), the thought of spending time cooped up with mom and dad over the holidays is less than happy. But when everybody’s singing and smiling for the camera, it’s hard not to feel like a Scrooge if you’re just not in the mood to celebrate.
The truth is that lots of people feel down at the holidays. I can’t say it’s ever easy, but here’s how to deal:
Accept your family for who they are. The more reasonable your expectations, the easier it’ll be to avoid trouble. Think of who you’ll be seeing ahead of time and what they might say or do that usually upsets you. That’ll give you time to prepare your reactions in advance so that your emotions don’t take over in the moment. If you know you’ll see your crazy aunt, who always asks really nosy questions, maybe you can think of a list of (more appropriate!) things to ask her about herself to change the topic.
Avoid hot-button issues. Every family has something they can’t discuss without each side squirming or getting defensive. Whether it’s politics, religion or even sports, some topics can lead to more fights than fun. Is it tempting to dig in your heels and make your point known, especially if you know you’re right? Yes. Is that always the right thing to do? No. Before you speak up, think about the drama it might cause. I’m not saying you shouldn’t speak your mind, but you definitely shouldn’t cause a scene if drama is what you’re trying to avoid.
Take a time out. Clearing your head with a walk; music; a book or just having some alone time might make all the difference in how you handle the holidays with your family. Sometimes it helps to remember that you will only be with them for a short time and to actually try enjoy that time.
Talk to someone. If you’re still at wit’s end, call somebody who gets it and will listen. Take a break and call or chat online with your honey or a friend who’s in the same boat. Just getting stuff off your chest can relieve the stress. And if you want to talk to someone who isn’t as close to the situation, The Boys Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000 has trained volunteers who are available 24 hours a day.
Whatever your family sitch is, and however you’re feeling right now, I hope you do have a happy holiday. You deserve it, girl. Are you dreading time with mom and dad this season? Tell us in comments!
This was written in cooperation with ReachOut.com, an information and support website using technology to help teens and young adults struggling with mental health issues. All content is written by teens and young adults, for teens and young adults, to meet them where they are, and help them recognize their own strengths and use those strengths to overcome their difficulties and/or seek help if necessary.