Setting Boundaries During the Holiday

Do you often feel rushed or anxious during the holidays? Hopping from one family party to the next? Getting the spotlight questions about your love life at the dinner table while everyone chows down on the holiday ham? Political debates?

Family gatherings can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Throw your partner or kids into the mix, the holidays can become juggling the expectations or traditions of multiple families – it can get rough. So how do we manage the demands and creating room for new customs of our own? Setting boundaries. Boundary setting allows you to feel comfortable, set limits to what you feel comfortable being involved in and allows you to have more freedom to make choices that are right for you. Boundaries are about setting limits that are right for you. Boundaries can be liberating, powerful and the best form of self-care.

Here are a few things to consider when setting boundaries around the holidays:

Be specific. When you’re having conversation with your family about your boundaries, you need to be specific on what you feel comfortable with. If you don’t want to have that conversation about your love life tell them that topic is off limits. Tired of political debates and not interested in the back and forth? Inform them that you will not be providing any feedback on the topic or that you’re not interested in having that conversation.

Have a plan. When you are invited to four different parties in one day it can get overwhelming. Think about what is best for you. If that means skipping out on having that third lunch with your partners cousin- skip it. Ask yourself how you feel about your time and space. No one is obligated to all invites. Be aware of what is a comfortable interaction for you and the amount of time with certain people. Don’t be afraid to say no.

Don’t be afraid to start new traditions. It’s important that you honor your ideas and desires to try something new for yourself, whether you have a spouse and children or not. If you want to get away and travel during the holiday, communicate that you are trying out new traditions for you. Want to take a walk after eating a big dinner? Go for it. Check in with yourself of what is fun and comfortable for you and or you and your spouse. Don’t be afraid to try new things to celebrate the holiday. It’s ok to start new traditions and branch out from the ones you grew up with.

But what if my family doesn’t like my boundaries? Your family members may not like your boundaries- it may trigger some insecurities or they may not understand. During conversations when setting boundaries, it’s important to acknowledge that your boundary may be difficult to hear. It takes a great deal of courage to speak up and set a boundary. Every time you set a boundary, you’re honoring your needs. What better gift to give yourself this holiday season than the gift of honoring and respecting you.