This week I have set my intention to share some tips on how you can set boundaries during the holidays. We all know the hustle and grind that the holiday season can bring to us. Because we value our family’s and we are sticklers we it comes to our holiday traditions, we often overextend ourselves to make our loved ones happy.
While focusing on ways we are going to bring joy and happiness to those we love I want to remind you of how it is important to take care of yourselves so that you don’t end up feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and resentful – which prevents us from enjoying any aspect of the holiday season.
Although the holidays for many of us involves decorating the home, wear holiday apparel, having more quality time with family, and feasting on some delicious comfort foods . For other people, the holidays bring up grief, resentment and frustration because of the changes, losses and breakdowns in their familial relationships.
I want to encourage you in either situation to be sure to take care of yourself, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, financially and relationally. Don’t allow the pressures to please and to prove overwhelm and stress you. Take time to really prioritize how we are going to spend your precious resources and your time during this holiday season.
I have one word that can help you to avoid being overwhelmed and overextending yourself in this holiday season and that word is BOUNDARIES!
Boundaries – are those invisible dividing lines of what is and is not ok for us. It is also important that you listen to your body. Is your body telling you that you are tired or that you need rest during the holidays? If so, listen to your body and appropriately respond to taking time out to rest and enjoy this holiday season.
Setting boundaries can help us to protect ourselves during the holidays and also help us to really focus on the true meaning and value of the traditions we treasure so much.
Here are my 5 tips on setting boundaries during the holidays:
- Be real with yourself. Set your intention.
Spend some time reflecting on what you want to get out of this holiday season. What meaning does it have for you and how are you going to experience it? What brings you joy during the holidays? List the people you really want to spend time with or the events you want to attend. Spend time each day to tune into yourself, identify your thoughts and feelings and you will be able to identify the things you want to say “yes” and “no” to. Having this kind if clarity can help you be more assertive with others and meet your own needs. It makes no sense to spend time with people who do not celebrate you, value you and only irritate, hurt and anger you. So take time to identify how and who you want to spend your time with.
- Honor your heart & your needs.
For many, the holiday season brings up a sense of grief and loss. COVID and other situations may have caused many people to suffer the loss of their loved ones. Grief can be difficult even if the loss was experienced 10 years ago. It is human and normal to feel sad about those we’ve lost. As many of our loved ones played a significant role in our holiday traditions and the season can trigger the feelings of missing them. If you know that going to an event or a certain party that will activate deep sadness they you may want to honor your heart and needs by opting out of going or simply limit the amount of time you spend there. Make sure to feel your feelings and honor your need to either be around people or to be alone.
- Simply say “No.”
Saying no and knowing your limits is not selfish, it is an act of love towards yourself (and sometimes others). Often saying yes out of fear of making someone mad or being upset with you leads to not being able to share the best version of yourself. People may be disappointed if you say no and that’s ok. Their disappointed emotions are giving them information and it’s ok for them to feel that – you don’t need to rescue them or prevent those feelings. If you do, internally you’ll feel angry, resentful, used, etc., and the quality of the time you spend with that person will be impacted.
Saying No doesn’t mean you have to go into an explanation about why you are limiting your time or opting out (remember you matter and how you feel and what you need during the holidays matters too). A simple “Thank you for the invitation, but I am unable to attend” will suffice. “I have another commitment.” “I’m not available.” Or simply, “No.” – because it’s a complete sentence. If someone takes no personally, that is not about you, it is all about them.
- Take care of yourself.
Make your mental health a priority this season. By doing so, you will be prioritizing taking care of yourself and this will positively influence how you show up and be there for others (or not) in this holiday season. If you need some alone time consider going to the gym, carve out time to rest, cuddle or nap. Make an appointment to get yourself a massage, or a mani/pedi, read a good book, or spend time outdoors. In a nutshell I simply want to encourage you and empower you with tips so you can reduce the overwhelm, exhaustion, and stress that often comes with the holiday season..
- Slow it Down. Be Mindful.
Don’t forget to slow down to be mindful and present during this season. If you’re too caught up in making trying please everyone and trying to make things look perfect for social media, stop and pause. Because you are going to miss out on the real joys of connecting with your family and friends. Savor this time and get still when you can and reflect on the true value of the holidays because at the end of the day it is not about the material things, its about the love we both share and receive from our hearts.
If you need some help in learning how to set boundaries during this holiday season, or any time of the year, email me at email@example.com and set up an appointment and let’s work on your self-care skills!