Surviving Communal Living

Group of friend having party in a camping site atThe summer holidays come at the end of a long year and often we arrive on holiday rather overtired and possibly stressed out. From there, we plan to unwind, often surrounded by friends, extended family or in a community situation such as a camping ground.

This communal living can be a blast – there are many hands available to help with cooking, childcare, activities and there is plenty of time in which to do it. Some people thrive on large groups, others not so much.

If you are one who struggles with communal living, or if you are going to be in a group with some people who push your buttons (in-laws anyone?), make sure that you have some strategies in place that mean you can enjoy yourself, along with everybody else.

  • Be honest

Talk to your partner and let them know that you will need some time out occasionally. Don’t sit quietly and simmer, assuming everyone else knows how you feel. Make a deal which allows you to go off and have a nap, or do some exercise, or read a book. Perhaps you can offer to do breakfast for the kids, then spend the later part of the morning on your own, or take turns to sleep in.

Make sure you focus on what you need, rather than criticising others. Making negative comments about others when you really just want something yourself isn’t constructive. It’s fine to say that you will come back a happier person after a bit of quiet – just make sure you aren’t always disappearing at busy times.

  • Make suggestions

If you are holidaying with a group and would like to just spend time with your partner or nuclear family, suggest an outing you can go on together. Be clear with the rest of the group that you are just taking advantage of your holiday to do some special family things.

  • Take a day off

If you go on a long holiday with your extended family – you may like to pop home for a day or so, or arrange to go and see other friends. It is not necessary to live in each other’s pockets for your whole holiday. Sometimes a change is as good as a rest.

  • Choose your location wisely

If you are trying to combine teenagers, preschoolers, grandparents and others in one place, try to ensure there are some separate spaces, so that the needs of night owls, larks and chatterboxes can be accommodated. Set up a tent on the back lawn, establish house rules for quiet times of day and be prepared to be flexible.

  • Stay open minded

You don’t have to take your entire routine on holiday with you. A bit of fuss and bother can be fun, just plan to create some moments of solitude in amongst it.


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