Welcome back, everyone! The holiday season is upon us, and while this can be a wonderful time for reconnections and smiles, it can also be a time for a dip in our mental health. Even if you are incredibly excited to return home and see your family and friends, this time is a major adjustment.
Unfortunately, when you go away to college, coming back home is hard. How hard is very much dependent on your personal living situations at home, but the fact remains that this period of time is, frankly, weird. This is especially true if you are a freshman and Thanksgiving will be the first time you are going home since starting college. At school, we are all much more independent. For the most part, we make our own rules and live by our own standards for months at a time. Being thrown back into your parents’ or caregivers’ system can be disorienting. It’s easy to bump heads; you aren’t used to being told what to do this often. However, remembering that you will only be home for a short amount of time helps to get through the rough patches. Try to push past those little irritations and enjoy spending those moments with your family if you can.
Beyond the typical adjustment of coming back to a set of house rules, a lot of people don’t have a great relationship with their family. If you’re like me, you may not be looking forward to going home at all. If you have the means— and the will power — to stay at school over break, do it! It’s okay to define your boundaries, even with your family. If going home will not make you happy and you are able to stay, do what is right for you. Your mental health is important and sometimes you have to fight for it a little harder.
When it comes to the actual holidays themselves, we all know it can be a little tense in regard to politics. Maybe there are other hot-button topics that your family tip-toes around, but in today’s climate, politics is one that most of us share a dread for. It’s important to remember to pick your battles. You want to stand up for what you believe in, and that’s amazing, but don’t engage with the little stuff. Shield yourself from the petty arguments and keep your high ground, even if it’s in your head. But if you’re anything like me, that is probably the hardest thing you can imagine. Biting your tongue can be incredibly frustrating when people are attacking your core beliefs. So to those of you who deal with this, I suggest researching as much as possible before you go home to arm yourself. If a discussion must come, make sure you’re the one with the facts and figures.
The holiday season can be a joy and a terror all at once. Remember to enjoy the moments when you can, prioritize your mental health, pick your battles, and arm yourself with knowledge. I wish you all luck in your family battles over the coming weeks. See everyone next week!