The Student News Site of St. John Fisher University

The Student News Site of St. John Fisher University

The Student News Site of St. John Fisher University

The Student News Site of St. John Fisher University

The Student News Site of St. John Fisher University

The Student News Site of St. John Fisher University

Tips and Tricks for Surviving Thanksgiving with Your Family

It’s that time of year again! We’ve worked our butts off and it’s finally time to go home. Though its for less than a week, and when we get back there’s still three weeks left of the semester, for some people this might be the longest week, both mentally and emotionally. Whether your home life is toxic or family gatherings are full of drama, we all feel some kind of stress or pressure around the holidays. We finally have a break from classes, which means it’s time to relax. Here are some tips to survive this Thanksgiving with your family to keep the stress low:



Graphic by Baltimore Therapy Center on Facebook

1. Set Boundaries

When Grandma or Uncle Jerry is asking too many personal questions and judging your halloweekend Instagram posts, it’s important to set your boundaries. The first step is acknowledging what you do and do not want to talk about. From there, make sure there is one person aware of your boundaries; someone who can quickly change the subject or pull you away. I would also recommend if a topic comes up and you are instantly uncomfortable, say something. You are finally an adult and you have control over your own life, so take control of the conversation. Set the boundaries and make them respect you as you know they would want in return if the roles were reversed.


Photo by the California Coalition for Youth

2. Self-Care


Focusing on yourself is so important, especially during times of high stress. Personally, holidays are stressful for me when I should be relaxing from school, extracurricular activities, and work. Both Fleurish Psychotherapy and I recommend making sure to move your body by walking, working out, or yoga. I like yoga for meditation and focusing on myself, away from the reality of my daily life. Another thing I recommend is taking care of your skin with face masks. This is always refreshing and when you look glowy, you feel brand-new. I personally recommend any facemask from the Ordinary brand or any sheet mask from target. The final thing is taking care of your health in other ways, like eating fruits and vegetables. I am all for intuitive eating; eat what you want, when you want, but I stand by fruits and vegetables balancing me and making me feel better overall.


3. Say “No”

It is so important to say “no” whenever you feel it is necessary to. During the holidays, there tends to be more pressure from family members and more pressure to say “yes.” It is important to stand by your own values and to not succumb to the pressures created by others. Stand by your own boundaries and beliefs no matter what your family pressures you to do. According to Pine Rest, by saying “no” and moving on from the topic, the chance of confrontation decreases and allows you to comfortably exit the conversation. 


Graphic by Everyday Mom Squad

4. Code Word

I would recommend having a code word in place with a family ally. Whether this is your favorite cousin or your mom who doesn’t get along with her mother-in-law, find a safe word. This word allows action for an escape plan in order for you to leave a conversation or even the event entirely. Any word could do, in order to be inconspicuous I would recommend something either on theme of Thanksgiving, or an emergency with someone not at the function. This would allow an easy exit, and with a code word the plan should work seamlessly. If no one is willing or able to leave with you, use a code word as a way to express distress or discomfort with someone you can confide in. If your cousin isn’t your ally as much as you wish they were, my go-to would be, “my friend is having a personal emergency, I need to go.” Then all you have to do is leave. I wouldn’t allow questions, just grab the keys and go. If I am uncomfortable, no holiday is worth that stress or pain, and hopefully my close family will understand and support me when we get home. 


5. Patience

This one is crucial. I personally struggle with patience at any time or situation. When family drama gets to me, I get easily overwhelmed and can blow a fuse within seconds. Whether it is because of a little cousin or the oldest family member there, patience is important in order to have self-control. Remember you aren’t doing this for them, it’s for you. Patience will help keep you calm and relieve tension that could be building up. Breathing exercises can be beneficial when stress is building up and can calm you down, thus engaging in the practice of patience. 


Overall, even I feel stressed for the holidays just by reading the 5 tips to survive the holidays, but I know they will help me be able to tackle this holiday season with a better attitude than ever. Maybe a more positive attitude will help me enjoy the holidays a little more, well that and the food, of course. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday break and come back even stronger for the last few weeks of the semester. I hope these tips work for you, and please try your best to remain stress-free and enjoy your time off… you deserve it!

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