The holidays are a time to be spent with family, right? Right . . . to a point. There’s a lot to be said for creating a space you can retreat to and decompress.
At the New York Times, Jessica Grose takes a look at the inevitability of getting irritated at your family around the holidays when you’re pulled out of your regular routine and thrust back into the unfamiliar-yet-all-too-familiar family life you left behind.
The whole article is worth a read for tips to help you navigate the holiday season (and visits in general). One particular tip we is about carving out space to decompress and be away from family during visits:
Make space for yourself. You will need an escape hatch from time to time. “Whether this means hiding out in the bathroom for 10 minutes to cool down, structuring the length of visits or springing for a hotel rather than staying in your parents’ guest room,” make sure you’re somehow creating a space where you can get some emotional distance from your family, said Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of “The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships.” I always make sure I can exercise in the morning when I’m with family — it gives me a break from them and also is a good conduit for ambient rage.
Now before you bristle at the idea of getting a hotel room, whether you’re looking at it from the perspective of the guest or the host, understand that it’s beneficial to both parties. Holiday visits put everyone out of their regular routine and leave no space for any parties to decompress. Although your mom might never admit it out of a sense of matriarchal pride or duty—she’d probably love for you to go away for a few hours at the end of each day, too.