Home for the Holidays

As end of the quarter builds, having time off around the Holidays can be a much needed chance to rest, recharge, and reconnect. For many students, trips “home” can be simultaneously enjoyable and frustrating. It can be particularly challenging to enjoy a sense of freedom while living away from home and then lose some of this freedom when you re-encounter rules or expectations. It might be helpful in this case to have a frank conversation with your parents in which everyone’s needs and hopes for the break are taken into consideration.

For students who struggle with family relationships, returning to home can be stressful. Sometimes the holidays can remind us of what is missing in our family life – or even loved ones whom we have lost. If you will be traveling home and find yourself struggling, it may be time to attend to self-care.

Sometimes, all it takes is a few minutes to refocus and ground yourself and simple strategies such as:

  • Listening to music
  • Texting/calling a friend
  • Taking a short walk
  • Taking out your art materials
  • Petting your family dog or cat

At other times, it may take more effort and time, and you might find it useful to reconnect with a local friend, see a movie, take yourself on a date, or go for a longer hike. Having strategies in mind can help decrease distress and anxiety and allow you to enjoy more of your time at home.

Finally, for some students going home can feel like your personal identities are rendered invisible — particularly those who have salient identities that differ (and are not accepted by) family members. In this case, make plans to connect with others who know you and understand you, even if it’s via text or Snapchat. If you feel overwhelmed, call the support line (541-346-3227) for more immediate support.

Going “home for the holidays” can be a wonderful break and a time to reconnect. But it can also be difficult and overwhelming for some. Either way, know you’re not alone and give yourself permission to take care of yourself and re-engage with the people and activities you enjoy.

Stacie Rowan, Ph.D.

Staff Psychologist