Plan Time for Yourself
If you find yourself getting overloaded, it’s perfectly acceptable to step aside and spend some time alone. Go for a walk, find an empty spare room, or offer the do all the dishes by yourself. Family members may pressure you to join in the “fun” but it’s fine to say that you just need a bit of time to yourself.
Choose Your Battles
You’re an adult now. It’s OK if your family doesn’t understand you, or if you can’t convince them that you’re right. Agree to disagree. Some battles are just not worth the emotional energy. No one has to get all their needs met by their family, friends can offer support and understanding you can’t get from some of your family members.
If It’s Too Much, Go Home Early
Again, you’re not required to stay with the family on holidays. It’s your job as an adult to take care of yourself. Come late and leave early if that’s the best way for you to take care of yourself. You can even choose to stay in a hotel, and just come over during the day.
Look for the Bright Spots
Try to find an activity that’s enjoyable. If the long family conversation is too much, go sit at the kids’ table and be the fun adult. Or, pull out old pictures and reminisce with your sibling about funny childhood times. An older relative may have a lot of interesting memories about their youth and family and this can be a more low pressure way to connect.
Sometimes the best way to manage when you’re not getting what you want is to shift focus on to more positive areas. Think about all the things you’re grateful for this year. Look around and see what you can do to help out.
Above all, remember that as an adult it’s your right and responsibility to take care of yourself. Do what you need to to feel good about this holiday.
Still getting pressured? Know that you’re not alone. That’s why I post this same advice every year.