How to return home after your first year away

How to return home after your first year away


by Jenna Verhoeven

It might feel as though it was yesterday you were starting a new chapter in your life. You were moving into your dorm on Res and wondering how you would do laundry, how you would feed yourself and where the nearest gym was.

Fast forward to now, you’ve packed up and have headed home for the holidays. While you may be excited, you may also be feeling a bit apprehensive about having to go back to sit-down family dinners or sharing a room or not getting enough alone time.

It can be challenging, moving back home after a year of independence, so here are my tips to help you stay happy and healthy when you return home after your first year away.

Be realistic.

Be realistic about EVERYTHING. Time, for example. If you’re only heading home for a week, try not to pack in too many visits and catch-up’s every day. This will wear you out and leave you feeling crabby or even resentful. Plus, trying to fit in everyone may not end up being quality time.

Accept change.

Always easier said than done. If this is your first time away, be mindful that while you’ve grown up and developed, so have your parents, siblings and your hometown friends.

One of the biggest life lessons I learned when I returned home was that I actually didn’t have much in common with most of my high-school friends anymore. Changing doesn’t make you or them a bad person. Just be prepared to be patient and be kind to yourself as you work through it.

Create space.

Some people love being surrounded by lots of friends and family during the holidays. I personally find it overwhelming as I study and work via distance, alone.

If you have been used to hiding away or flying solo, make sure you give yourself space when you head back home. It could mean going for a walk or reading a book in a café.

Make sure you express this to your family, as long as you are open about this they will understand.

Enjoy it!

Make sure you enjoy your family time. If you have a doting mother like I do, lovingly accept their need to express love through feeding you! You can also reciprocate the love by cooking some meals or helping with chores.

Show them some of the creative things you can do with 2-minute noodles, soy sauce and an egg.

Just remember, this time of year should be a time to recharge and refresh. Try to minimise doing things that don’t encourage this and maximise the time spent actually having a holiday.

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