The holidays are a time of joy and celebration. But they can also be a source of stress, especially when it comes to spending time with family, buying gifts, traveling from home to home, or choosing who you will or won’t get to see this holiday season. How do you balance spending quality time with your loved ones while ensuring you don't become overwhelmed in making healthy holiday decisions? The answer is setting healthy boundaries.
Boundaries are limits we set for ourselves and others in order to maintain our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. We need boundaries in order to stay safe, feel secure, and protect our energy. When we set healthy boundaries, we create space for ourselves to take care of our own needs without feeling guilty or ashamed while keeping our relationships intact.
Setting healthy boundaries can help reduce stress during the holidays by allowing us to focus on what's important - connecting with our loved ones in meaningful ways - without feeling stressed or exhausted from giving too much of ourselves away. Having clear boundaries also makes it easier for us to say “No” when needed so that we don't overextend ourselves or become resentful about having said “Yes” in the first place.
Here’s How To Navigate The Holidays Stress-Free This Year:
Be Honest With Yourself – get in touch with how you’re feeling and what you need right now so you know what’s best for you going forward. Being self-aware can help you identify your personal limits and what decisions will best support your mental health.
Communicate Assertively – let other people know what your limits are so they can work with you on how best to maintain the relationship. Be willing to negotiate an agreement to support the connection, but this doesn’t mean forgoing your value or limits.
Practice Self-Care – make sure you're taking time out for yourself so that you don't become drained or frustrated by the demands of the holidays. This may look like going for long walks, giving yourself alone time, reading a book, prioritizing your to-do list, choosing to spend time with people who support you, journaling, or meditating.
Stay At Home – if things start to become too overwhelming when it comes to holiday travel or making plans, give yourself permission to take a break from whatever situation is causing the stress. If this means declining holiday invitations, or choosing to go only for a short period amount of time, then spending time at home may help you feel better aligned.
Honor Personal Integrity – once your boundary is set for yourself or with loved ones, stick with it even if other people try to convince you to change your mind. Having personal integrity with yourself is the first step to self-respect and feeling alignment with your inner truth. Anytime you forgo your boundaries, it's an invitation for others to take advantage of your kindness. Then, you end up regretting your decisions later on because you are mad you violated your own boundaries.
Stop Saying “I’m Sorry” – remember that setting healthy boundaries isn’t something you need to apologize for! It’s an important part of self-care and should be respected even with family, friends, or colleagues this holiday season. When we apologize for something we didn’t do wrong, then we are choosing to undermine our voice of reason.
Avoid Oversharing Details – it’s important to communicate, but skip the details. Any time you overshare too much information, it puts our mental peace in jeopardy. Manipulative family members or friends will twist your words and make you feel guilty about your decisions. Keep your communication concise and to the point to avoid extra explaining or having to dig yourself out of a sticky situation.
Setting healthy boundaries during the holiday season is essential if we want to avoid becoming overwhelmed or exhausted from trying to please others at our own expense. By taking the time to get clear on what we need and communicating those needs ahead of time, we can make sure that everyone gets their needs met while still enjoying this special time together as a family.
Here's wishing all families a happy, peaceful holiday season!