I’m not sure which is more difficult — hosting houseguests, or being a houseguest. However, the key to enjoying either of these states of being is the same: maintain your rhythm and routine in spite of the chaos around you.
If you’re an exerciser, don’t let the kids and grandkids knock you out of that routine. Go for your walk or run if that’s your thing; your guests will appreciate your mellow state of mind afterwards. If you are out of town, find a place that offers exercise classes and spring for the day pass, it’ll be worth every penny. Think about inviting family members to join you in your exercise routine, unless you need to time away from them in order to be the happy host, in which case just sneak out while they’re still snoozing!
If exercise is not part of your rhythm and routine, take a few minutes before your company arrives or before you begin your travels to think about the ways that you maintain your sanity. My siblings and I know that my mother always has her ‘nap’ between 1 and 3p.m. How often she actually snoozes is anyone’s guess, but she turns off her brain for that time and is recharged for the afternoon and evening festivities. She is very clear that this is her schedule regardless of visitors or visiting. This is her way of keeping her routine and her sanity, which all of her children appreciate.
Two hours of quiet-time every afternoon may not be your cup of tea; perhaps you need that quiet space over coffee in the morning. If so, try visiting the local coffee shop for your morning java, as this will give you that buffer before the family festivities ensue. Even if you are the one hosting, it may be easier to run out for your quiet cup of caffeine rather than starting your day with polite conversation over sleepy houseguests.
The habits you have established in order to keep your life balanced are the habits that will keep you sane during times of chaos and stress — do not abandon all routines when you need them most. Holidays, while magical and at times heartwarming, can also cause one to pull one’s hair out. You will enjoy the experience and the people more when you maintain your own bit of sanity.