Top 5 Ways To Stay Sane While Your Family’s Visiting for the Holidays

Family visits can be joyous, but they can also be chaotic. If you follow these five steps, you may see less of that holiday stress this year.

The merriest time of year can also be the most stressful. As much as we look forward to spending time with family from near and far, the relationships we share with family members can sometimes be challenging, and holiday stress is natural. Top that with the million and one things to cross off your to-do list, and you’re in for a meltdown. So, how can you be an excellent host or guest and enjoy quality family time while caring for yourself?

Do the holidays stress you out? Check out our Guide to Relieving Stress During the Holidays

Every family is different, but we’ve developed five pointers to help you stay sane during family visits this holiday season. Reconnect in the way that makes sense for you and yours. Gather the troops and head to the local movie theater or ice skating rink. Spend the night playing board games, sitting down for dinner, or just cozying up and talking. With an open mind and an easy-going attitude, there’s hope!

5. Maintain a Healthy Sleep Schedule 

With so much to do, it’s a wonder that nobody ever gets any sleep between Thanksgiving and the New Year. How do you avoid turning into the Grinch when you’re doing it all?

Still, trying to convince people that sleep helps with sanity? Check out our Top 5 Reasons Why More Sleep Means Less Stress During the Holiday Season

Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule during the holidays is important because sleep deprivation can cause behavior changes and overall Grinch-like behaviors. It’s OK to stay up late here and there, but keep it within an hour or two of your normal sleep cycle. And it’s extra important if you’re traveling across time zones. In these cases, it’s much harder to keep your regular schedule. However, if you only plan to stay a day or two, keep as close to your typical “back home” schedule as possible.

4. Plan a Potluck Party

A holiday potluck can feel more festive and cozy than an elaborate dinner party. It’s also much easier to plan.

Ask each family member to bring a special dish to the table. It can be helpful to pick a potluck theme (but don’t make it too narrow) and allow guests to choose their words. Then all you have to do is decorate and have fun! The relaxed atmosphere helps ease the tension caused by travel, and a potluck will create a warm and welcoming vibe. There are many tips and tricks to pulling off a laid-back yet beautiful event where everyone contributes to the special day.

3. Make Sure to Have Some Alone Time

Constant social visits can stress out just about anyone. Introvert? Stressed out. Extrovert? Stressed out. We all need to recharge, and there’s no better time to do so than during the holidays.

For more meditation tips, check out our Top 5 Reasons Why Meditation Can Help Relieve Stress This Holiday Season

After carving out an hour to yourself, now what? Go on a walk and listen to a guided meditation. Download a mediation app, like Headspace, that works best for you. Or check out the Christmas lights and decorations. Make time to hit the gym and boost your endorphins. Run a hot bath, listen to music or nap. Whatever works best for you, please do it. Taking care of yourself will minimize meltdowns and enable you to be your best self around your family.

2. Avoid Provocative Topics

It feels unavoidable. You fear someone will start a political conversation at the dinner table, and everything will be ruined. Every family comprises people with very different opinions, and spending time together might bring up some controversial conversations. Keeping the conversation light, avoiding too much alcohol, and chatting about school, recipes, and pop culture can help make the day, or week, less hectic.

1. Avoid Overspending with Alternative Gift Exchanges

 The No. 1 cause of stress during the holidays is overspending. According to the National Retail Federation, the average person spent about $998 during the holidays in 20205.

Want some more inexpensive gift ideas? Check out our Top 5 DIY Holiday Gift Ideas That Will Save You a Fortune and Still Impress Your Friends & Family

Instead of buying for everyone, try playing holiday-themed gift games like Secret Santa or White Elephant Gift Exchange. If you plan on playing Secret Santa, have everyone toss their name in a hat and draw to see who you’ll buy for. Set a price limit on gifts and get creative. Or play White Elephant, where everyone brings a gift, and people either select contributions from the bunch or steal from other family members. Ensure the rules are written beforehand, as things tend to get wild. Make gift exchanges fun again and save a lot of extra dough!

What are your favorite ways to stay sane during holiday family visits? Let us know in the comments below!