Spending time with family over the holidays can either go incredibly well or be unbelievably hard. For some people, it’s easily the best part of the season, but there are just as many of us out there who need a long nap after spending such concentrated time with the fam. When you finally break free after the holidays, you should definitely feel free to practice a some self care to beat the emotional hangover of having to be with your parents. Don’t feel guilty! Emotional hangovers are real things and you don’t have to have a particularly toxic family to feel the pain, although for people that do, the “holiday break” can actually be a living hell.
Getting emotional hangovers is a sign that you’re a super empathetic person, according to the experts. “Even though [an] empath may set excellent limits with energy vampires, it’s common for us to experience “emotional hangovers,” an energetic residue left over from the interaction. Toxic emotions can linger long afterwards which make you feel exhausted, beset with brain-fog, or ill. When dealing with drainers at work or at home, empaths often need time to recuperate later,” Psychology Today reports.
One upside to this: You can congratulate yourself on trying to make it work with your family and setting boundaries, even though it doesn’t always work. While you’re being as kind to yourself as humanly possible heading into the New Year, you might even want to consider whether the hangover is worth it next time. Regardless, you can do some or all of the following to hit an emotional reset.
1. Cleanse your energy.
Seriously, get some crystals or burn some sage around you, even if your family wasn’t in your house. Even if you think sage and crystals and energy healing is for quacks, do it anyway. What is it going to hurt? If you really can cleanse your energy, then that’s worth a try. Even just lighting a candle or burning some incense while taking a bath with some fancy lavender soap (or just a really cool bath bomb) is relaxing AF. After managing your family dynamics, you could use some downtime.
2. Treat yourself.
Listen, retail therapy is a real thing, according to research. If you just spent a couple days over Christmas getting emotionally beat up by your family, you deserve a treat. Take advantage of the post-holiday sales, go get a mani pedi, order your favorite takeout that you never get because it’s technically not in your budget. Think of it like giving yourself a much-needed hug.
3. Send a message.
If you come from a super toxic family, it’s likely you have some *things* you’d like to get off your chest after being around them, or maybe you finally thought of the best comeback to your mother’s snide comment about your job. You know what’s best for you, so maybe calling up your mom and carrying on that fight over the phone or email sounds like it’ll be helpful. Will it though?
You can always journal or tap the message up into an email and just not send it instead, which in some cases, is the best way to protect yourself since toxic people are likely unable to hear you anyway. You can let all that negativity out and keep some very necessary boundaries.
4. Plan ahead for next time.
Some people get emotional hangovers from their family that are so bad they eventually just can’t go back and do it all over again, like someone who stops drinking entirely because they can no longer handle how gross it makes them feel. Others can manage with some super clear boundaries. Having a strategy ahead of time will help you stick to it. Maybe leave the family hang a little earlier than you did this year, or decide not to engage that sibling that wrecks you, or tell your parents that certain conversation topics are just off limits.
5. Phone a friend.
Hopefully, there are people in your life who fill you up in good ways. Text them, call them, make a date to hang out as soon as possible. The holiday season, especially the post-holiday season, can be super lonely, and if you just spent time with even sort of toxic family you might feel like you don’t want to *bother* anyone. You’re totally not — your friends likely totally feel the same way. So reach out and commiserate and remind each other that you have amazing people waiting for you when the holidays are over.
6. Find a mantra.
If your emotional hangover involves a little anxiety (who are we kidding — it’s probably a lot), you’re going to want some tools to get you in the right headspace. Think of an affirmation or a breathing technique that works for you so when you start to feel guilty or sad about your fam you can bring yourself back. Just like with a regular hangover, a little self care goes a long way.