With the holidays coming up, many students will be heading home to spend time with family. For some, this sounds like a dream. No assignments to worry about, possibly not needing to go to work, and spending time with loved ones you don’t get too see too often. For others, going home for the holidays is an incredibly daunting task.
Because the holidays are supposed to be a time of relaxation and celebration, it is important to take care of yourself. This is extremely apparent when the families some of us go home to make relaxation, and recharging from a long academic semester, difficult.
For those going home for the holidays to families that are loving, nurturing, and help you feel relaxed and comfortable, don’t take it for granted. Spend ample time with your loved ones.
If a parent asks you to help with making dinner, talk to them about your life and what’s been going on while you’ve been away. Treasure the time you get to spend with them, check your phone less, play games with them, and eat meals with them.
For some, it is difficult to go and see them when it’s not the holidays. It’s important that you make every second with them count. That doesn’t mean spending every moment you’re at home with family! Even the most loving and perfect families can make us feel overwhelmed or tired. Make sure to make time for yourself as well.
For those going home to families that are difficult to be around, make sure you find time for yourself. There may come times when things come up in conversation that are difficult to listen to. What is important for your mental health is to take breaks when you can. Excuse yourself to respond to texts or calls from friends. If you have friends around your hometown that you can go and see, let them know how things are going. If you feel comfortable doing so, maybe let your family know how you’re doing. Perhaps, with you being away at college, some of their habits may have changed.
Not going anywhere for the holidays may seem like a blessing. No responsibilities or social obligations holding you down for a whole two weeks may sound appealing, but being away from family, despite the relationship with family, can get lonely around the holidays. The social expectation around the holidays is that of spending time with the people who love you. If you’re able, look into doing some charity work this holiday season if you aren’t going home to family.
Homeless shelters, soup kitchens, hospital volunteer work, and other things of this nature can help you feel less alone, while doing good for the community. If finding charity work proves to be difficult, see what kind of holiday parties your friends may be throwing or attending. Maybe you just need some time alone, away from everyone.
To everyone this winter break, make sure to take care of yourself in whatever way you need to. It’s been a very long semester for all of us, and this break is well deserved and well needed. Be safe, have fun, and happy holidays.
Rylee Barnsdale is a columnist for opinions at the Eastern Echo.