Easter weekend has come and gone and my ears are still ringing from the raucous voices screaming over one another as my family sat, ate and visited. It’s nothing new; my family is loud and boisterous and talks over one another and will have full conversations with someone sitting at the end of the table. Oftentimes, I forget how shocking (and annoying) it must be for newcomers to join in on the family fun. Oh, your family doesn’t gossip like mongrels, spying on the neighbours, then turn around and tell someone not to judge? They don’t talk in decibels usually reserved for screaming into an ear during a concert? No? Okay. While this list would’ve been useful BEFORE heading off for a family weekend, it’s the fresh memories still bouncing around that gave me the idea that this list was needed – and reminded me that traveling isn’t just wonderful jaunts to New Zealand or Italy; it’s the 4 hour car rides stuck against a window with family.
Bring ear plugs
I usually end up bringing a pair of ear plugs every time I journey away for the weekend, no matter the destination. I’m a light sleeper and get cranky if I cannot have total silence to lull myself into slumber. But, ear plugs help when it’s more than just sleep you’re craving. When you’re trying to read that book and take a bit of a relax and people are talking so loud you swear the roof will blow off one of these days. Pack extras.
Take a little me-time
Whenever you have company over, or are the company, people are expected to sit and spend time with one another. That’s the whole reason you’re together, isn’t it? To spend some quality time together? Yeah…that gets old if you haven’t had a moment to yourself in over 48 hours. Even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom and claim digestion issues, take a moment to do what you need to do to relax – your mind will thank you for it.
Volunteer to get the groceries
Nothing is better than stepping out of a house full of people and into the world where you can peruse the aisles in Safeway all by your lonesome. Just getting out of the house will reset your mind and remind you that you really do love your family…just not all of them…all at once…for the whole weekend.
Take a walk
That is, if it isn’t -30 for your holiday weekend. Sneak out while no one is paying attention to you and give yourself a little walk around the block. You’ll get some exercise (which you most likely have forgone due to the festivities) and a little time alone to breathe and connect with yourself.
Book the hotel room
Okay. So, you’re supposed to stay with family because they’re family, right? Some may even be upset that you won’t stay with them, but get a hotel room (if you can) and thank me for it later. Going to bed by yourself and waking up by yourself is something we all take for granted. Been guilted into staying with family? Go back up to the ear plugs tip.
Remind yourself that it’s family
And, that some of these people might not be here for the next holiday. Your patience may be wearing thin, you might be close to bursting into tears, you’ve yelled at your aunt you never thought you would yell at, but they’re you’re family and you miss them when they’re not around. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and ignore that racist comment from your older relatives.