Returning home for Thanksgiving break can provide a refreshing change of scenery, but it can also produce anxiety. As a college student, traveling home for the holidays may also mean re-immersing into your childhood, which can be difficult. After being away at school and living independently for many months, uprooting your routine and re-entering an environment where you may have less freedom than normal can be a struggle. This transition may yield new sources of tension with family members and lead to conflict which can make the brief break feel more stress-inducing than relaxing.
If you find yourself grappling with unfamiliar emotions, communicate them respectfully and work to resolve your disagreements. Aside from establishing open lines of communication, be sure to carve out time for personal reflection. Read on for helpful tips on dealing with emotional turmoil and taking care of yourself.
1. When in doubt, write it out!
Putting pen to paper and journaling is a great way to process emotions . It can help you discover what is causing your stress, or help you realize what you are grateful for. Consider reflecting on the past semester by jotting down what went well and what you hope to change during second semester.
2. Take a walk
Getting your body moving is a fabulous way to get some fresh air and clear your mind. You don’t have to be the most athletic or fit person to get yourself active. If you want to go ahead and run ten miles, though, do your thing!
3. Burn a candle
Scent is the sense most closely tied to memories and emotions. Candles create a peaceful environment whether you’re watching Netflix, reading, or just spending time with family and friends. Adding a nice holiday scent to the mix will allow you to create positive memories and enable you to feel relaxed every time you’re exposed to that scent.
4. Confide in others
Chances are, your family members are not mind readers. If something is really bothering you, the best course of action is almost always to share your feelings. Have an open conversation with the people you trust most. Vocalizing whatever is bothering you will lighten your burden and push you closer toward a resolution.
The holiday season is fun and exciting, but it’s also important to take a step back and realize when you need to take care of yourself. Remember that there are always university resources available for students to take advantage of. For more information on conflict resolution, check out the Office of Student Conflict Resolution (OSCR), and for more information on self-care and well being, check out Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) or Wolverine Wellness.
Contributed by Maria Uribe, –Neighborhood Ambassador