Posted January 13, 2016 by Cooper Point Journal in Letters & Opinion

How to Love Yourself After Encountering Your Shitty Relatives!

A Quick Guide To Empowering Yourself After Being Torn Down

By Nix Chace

While the holiday season can be a warm and wonderful time where families gather together to give love and support to their loved ones, it is all too often a time where marginalized groups need to shove themselves right back in that closet, or sit passively as their family makes incredibly homophobic, racist, sexist, and ableist remarks around the dinner table. If your experiences with relatives falls under the latter category, this article is for you.

This time of year can be incredibly depressing, difficult, and alienating to many people with varying identities. I know this holiday season I had to sit through being misgendered by my entire family and respond to a name I haven’t even gone by for almost a year. I have a lot of trouble with self-care, so I decided to make this list in an attempt to recover from this past holiday season.

Surrounding yourself with friends or chosen family.

Grabbing a cup of coffee with a good friend, or having brunch with a group of pals can be an incredibly validating experience during the holiday season. Celebrating the holidays, or celebrating the fact that you all survived through the holidays, with people who respect your identity can be very healing and empowering during this time of year!

Host your own holiday!

Invite people over for dinner! Pop open a bottle of wine and have a party! Celebrate the new year the way YOU want to, instead of being stuck with your family. Take the reigns and create your own traditions with the people you want to create them with.

Get rid of things

I know for christmas I got plenty of clothes that invalidated my identity and I wouldn’t want to be caught dead in. While I politely smiled and accepted my gifts because I know my family tried, I decided not to feel guilty for taking them all back once I got home, or giving them away. It’s okay to get rid of the things you don’t want or don’t like. You are under no obligation to suffer with items that make you feel bad!

Rest & Relaxation

This is honestly really vague, I know. But taking a hot bubble bath, or painting your nails, or just sleeping for two days straight is also an amazing way to recover from a harsh holiday. To make myself feel better, I got this argan oil for my skin and let me tell you I am glowing the pain away.

Find Community

Sometimes it’s hard to relate to some of my friends who don’t have similar experiences with their families as I do, while they can still be incredibly supportive of me I have found what’s most important is finding a community of people who can understand my experiences. Connecting with people who really understand what I’m going through is, in my opinion, one of the greatest ways to heal from harmful experiences and is one of the best ways to take care of yourself after a rough holiday season. Finding a support group, or having some close friends who really get it, is one of the best ways to vent, heal, and grow from a painful holiday.

Pour yourself a glass of wine. Eat a waffle.

I don’t know if any of you have had the wine/waffle combination before, but if not I would seriously consider giving it a go. Like on their own, wine and waffles are pretty great, but put them together and boom! pow! you have got yourself a winning combination. The bitter after-taste of red wine matched with the sweetness of a maple syrup-y waffle, makes me feel better about most things. If wine and waffles aren’t your comforting combination, try making one of your own! the recipe is basically (alcoholic beverage) + (yummy breakfast food). I have no doubt this combination will definitely ease the pain of a hard holiday season.

Make your own self-care list.

Try making your own list of things to do to make yourself feel better! Just the act of writing down things you can easily do to help yourself is really healing and empowering. There are so many ways to help yourself after a hard time with relatives, and it can all start by writing them all down and letting it out.


If lists aren’t your thing, try writing an angry rant in your journal, or make a cathartic blog post where you can let out all your feelings! Whatever floats your boat or allows you to let out all of your intense emotions, go for it! Try having a good pal be there to listen to whatever you need to say. Keeping your feelings bottled up can only make things worse, so let it all out in whatever format works best for you!