Dealing with Family: Family is one of those things that can be the best and worst part of the holidays. Everyone has a different relationship with their blood-related family members, not to mention situations where there are parents separated into several households. Family can be defined as more than just people related to you, so maybe your holiday season is spending time with a family made up of close friends. Either way, tensions can run high when you are with people who may have different views than you. Whether it is post-election conflict, feeling like your parents are being overbearing, or your sister being in your room too much now that she is home, the holiday season can require not a small bit of tolerance.
Conflict Management: When conflict comes up, it is good to remember a few tips and tricks to keeping it from escalating.
-Try to keep your calm / ask to talk about the subject without getting overly emotional
-Try to see the other person’s point of view
-Remove yourself if you feel overwhelmed / in danger
-Tell another family member to intervene if you frequently get into conflict with one or more members.
Walking Away: It is okay to walk away from a situation and take time to yourself. Holidays are for family, sure, but it is totally okay to put your own mental health as the first priority. Go to your room and play some phone games or check socials and check back in with the fam in a bit.
Sensory Time: Having a small sensory item or fidget to help when overwhelmed or needing input during social situations or stressing times during the holidays can help calm you.
Safety: Safety is going to be one of the biggest effects on this holiday season. Traveling is not recommended, and a lot of families are breaking tradition this year by keeping things on zoom or strictly to one household. I know that as a child going home from university, I will be taking a COVID test before I leave. In addition, the CDC recommends a quarantine/buffer zone of 7-10 days after visiting family before returning to work or social situations. My work was willing to add these 7 days on to all vacations taken during break, but not all workplaces will be as open to this idea, but ask if you can afford the extra days off!
Further, keeping the celebration to one or two households only, testing before you gather, and taking special precautions if coming into contact with someone especially at risk (elderly, immunocompromised, overweight, or predisposed due to previous health conditions). While a good amount of people will not be too severely affected by COVID, please remember that we do not know the long term effects and that young, healthy people have fallen ill and passed from this.