How to Deal With Family Over Thanksgiving Break

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving! Can you believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner? I personally cannot. Seriously, the semester has flown by so quickly.

If you happen to be heading home for the week of Thanksgiving, I truly hope you have fun and enjoy a nice vacation, visiting friends and family.

But if you’re anything like me, you like being in college, and going home doesn’t exactly give you the best feeling. Here is some advice for dealing with your family, as well as ways to make yourself feel better if you’re, at any point, overwhelmed or frustrated.

First, I would approach going home with an open mindset. Going into a situation with a preconceived notion of how you think it will turn out usually results in disappointment as well as a self-fulfilling prophecy, which we definitely don’t want to see happen. I intend to go home with a cautious but optimistic mindset. What I mean is that yes, I’m approaching this situation with a positive outlook, but I am fully aware that things may not go exactly as I want them to, and that’s okay. If you feel the same, try to stay positive, and realize that your family is still your family, and they probably haven’t changed as much as you think (or hope) since you last saw them. Keep this in mind, and try to have fun.

Second, take time to do things that make you happy. Your family will most likely try to monopolize your time at home, but try to find a window of opportunity to go out and do something with friends or even by yourself. Take a drive to your favorite spot in the city and reflect on the good memories you have of home. It’s not your job to constantly cater to your family members’ feelings. After all, this is your vacation, and your family will survive if you take a few hours off from spending time with them.

Another piece of advice I have is to use coping mechanisms. Things like meditating, taking slow and deep breaths, reading a book, and/or watching a favorite TV show can help keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Even if things are going well, I would recommend doing things to de-stress, before things have the chance to get bad. Going home can be a stressful experience, especially since it has been at least a few months since you’ve been there. If your childhood was anything like mine, you may associate home with the stress that you experienced growing up. Home doesn’t have to be stressful anymore. Now, home can be a place to catch up on sleep and reconnect with people whom you no longer see every day.

Lastly, remember you are returning to college in less than a week, so enjoy your escape from papers and exams for the short time that you have. Personally, I am pushing myself this to get all of my work completed (that includes work due this week and shortly after break), so I have the time to relax and have fun.

While I may not be 100% looking forward to going home for Thanksgiving, I’m going in with an open mindset. After all, it’s Thanksgiving, and I have a lot to be thankful for.