Preparing Yourself to be Home for the Holidays

Do you experience any pangs of anxiety at the prospect of going home for the holidays? If you do, you’re not alone. Going home should be a natural event, especially if it involves going home for the holidays. But when you are at university, you are living away from home, and it can change the arrangement somewhat. You may even need to prepare yourself to be home for the holidays.

Not all students are entirely excited about the prospect of going home for the holidays – what ever the reason. You get settled into a certain routine, and going home represents a break in that routine. If you find this to be at least a little unsettling, you’re not at all unusual.

You’ve Changed Since You Went Away

Preparing Yourself to be Home for the Holidays
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One of the most basic reasons why it can be difficult to go back home is that you have undergone certain changes since you’ve been away at school. Anytime you go away for an extended period of time – no matter where it is – it has the potential to change you. Sometimes those changes are minor, and sometimes they’re not.

Related: Leaving Home and New Experiences

One of the reasons why you changed is precisely because you were no longer home. You are living away at school, and that means you are in a different physical environment, a different geographic location, surrounded by different people, and participating in new activities, none of which bear any resemblance to what it was you experienced when you were living at home.

Those changes will not only affect your behavior, but they can also alter the way you think about everything. If you have been away at university for several years, you are not the person who you were when you first started. You’ve changed in certain significant ways, and those changes could make it at least somewhat difficult to go back home.

Just Because You’ve Changed Doesn’t Mean Your Family Has

What can contribute to the difficulty of going home for the holidays is the realization that even though you have undergone significant changes in your life, the people back home are pretty much still the same. After all, just because your life has changed doesn’t mean that their’s has.

While you are away at school experiencing new people and situations in a different place, the folks back home are pretty much doing what they always have. They probably live in the same homes, in the same community, and do the same work and participate in the same hobbies and activities that they always have.

In a real way, once you go away to school, you and your family begin growing apart in meaningful ways. You will go back home – your new life fresh on your mind and now firmly entrenched as a part of who you are – and attempt to re-immerse yourself into your old home life. It’s doable, but it’s not always as easy as it seems it should be.

Visiting the Family You Like – and the Other Kind

At least some of the anxiety that surrounds going home for the holidays can be the result of visiting with certain family members. We all have family that we love to be with, but then there’s some of the other kind – who we would just as soon avoid.

But since you have been away for several months, you’ll be expected to reconnect with everyone, and that can be overwhelming. If you have family members who you would rather not see, you’ll have little choice but to bite the bullet and make the best of it. After all, no matter how long you been gone – and what changes you may have gone through on a personal level – you’re still part of your family, and there’s a certain level of obligation, even with the people you find difficult to deal with.

The best strategy? Spend as much time as you can with the family you want to be with – and keep the time with the others to absolute minimum.

Give Yourself Some “Me Time” – But Not Too Much

Even if you look forward to the prospect of going home for the holidays, too much family time can be overwhelming. After all, you’ve lived away from your family for months – and have developed a whole new “family” at school – but now it’s time to go back. Sometimes, it can just seem like too much family in one short space of time! It’s easy to see how going back home can get overwhelming, particularly in seeing extended family for the holidays.

When you get home, one of the best ways to deal with the stress, is to schedule in some “me time”. That means spending some time by yourself, doing the things that you would be doing if you were by yourself back at school, or maybe spending some time with some high school friends.

That time will give you the diversion that you need to create a better blend between family time and the life that you have come to know and love at school. Just be sure that you’re not having too much me time – after all, you’re whole purpose for being home for the holidays is to visit with the folks back home.

Do you find yourself experiencing at least a little bit of anxiety over the prospect of going home for the holidays?

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10 years ago

I live at home, for me visiting parents is that – visiting. I don’t really get anxious about visiting them, but it’s always nice to come back home at the end!

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