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Self Care and Happier Holidays

by Cassie Moore, ACNM Writer and Editor

I think everyone does it on some level—you go home for the holidays and suddenly you feel like you’re 16 again (or whichever age was most angsty for you). You get into the same old argumentative pattern with your parents. Or a sibling teases you about something you’re sensitive about, like your appearance. Or you get sucked into a hysterical political argument. Or you feel guilty about not buying the right gift, or not buying a gift at all, or not driving to see all of your friends within a 30 mile radius of your home.

When I was about eight years old, there was some type of mix-up at my grandparents’ house and the gift I had picked out for my grandmother was actually opened by my aunt. I don’t think my grandmother even noticed or cared that I didn’t get her a gift—but I noticed, and boy did I feel guilty about it! I went upstairs and cried and felt horrible for the days and even weeks to follow. I look back now and think to myself how silly it was to get upset about something so insignificant. But sometimes it’s hard to see that perspective when we’re in the situation. Holidays have a way of heightening drama, especially family drama. I am making some changes to my holiday routine this year so that it’s less stressful—an airplane ride with my two-year-old is stressful enough, thank you!—and here are some of the ideas I have come across. Please share your own in the comments.

-The Hairpin has a wonderful post about setting boundaries with family members. The great thing about this post is that the author encourages readers to stand up for themselves not in a retaliatory or angry way, but kindly and firmly.

-If you’re overwhelmed with present-buying, or just broke, explain to your family and friends that you’d prefer to spend time with them or donate a few bucks to a cause they support instead of worrying about presents. You may find that many of them enthusiastically agree with you!

-If you prefer your own space and can afford it, look into getting a hotel for the time you’ll be visiting your family. It’s nice to be able to get away and recharge on your own. Think of the additional cost as an investment in your emotional health.

-If you can’t see a friend or a relative, don’t spend your time stressing about it. Give them a call or send them an e-mail or a card to let them know you’re thinking of them.

-Try to be kind—your loved ones might snap at you for reasons that have nothing to do with you! Resist the urge to engage in an argument and…

-Take a long walk or exercise another way—it really will make you feel better.

-Say to heck with it and just stay home. Better yet, head to the beach!

We wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and hope you all have safe travels and a Happy New Year!

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Posted 12/20/2011 9:41:38 AM



Any opinions expressed in this blog are those of the individual participant(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. ACNM is not responsible for accuracy of any of the information provided by guest bloggers and/or members via the Comments section. We welcome all feedback – including comments, ideas and suggestions. We also welcome civil, friendly debates. However, any and all content that is deemed inflammatory or rude will not be posted.


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