Setting Healthy Boundaries to Tame Holiday StressDec 07, 2022
At its best, the holiday season is the most wonderful time of year, filled with joy, family, friends, and gatherings. It can also be a season marked by added stress, over-commitment, duties, and obligations that come this time of year. Life can be hectic, but adding additional expenses, shopping, cooking, cleaning, entertaining, and house guests (including toxic ones) can be a recipe for pure overwhelm.
Setting healthy boundaries can help you move the needle from chaos to calm this holiday season and beyond. Now you can minimize Holiday stressors by implementing boundaries. Doing so will reenergize you and lift your spirits, which is something to celebrate!
The key to creating a healthy, happy holiday season is learning to set boundaries.
Stress Less and Set Healthy Boundaries
Some of us are taught boundaries in our family system, while others are unfamiliar with the term or concept. Without boundaries, there is an increased likelihood of chaos, drama, and resentment. If people do not know your limits, they cannot honor them; it’s as simple as that.
Boundaries are limits that we set with ourselves and others. Doing so is an act of self-care and self-compassion, a way to care for ourselves and better our relationships with others. In the absence of boundaries, we risk depleting our energy to please others while abandoning our own needs (for rest, exercise, and self-care).
By allowing others to mistreat or take advantage of you, you’ll keep getting more of what is permitted. Ultimately a lack of boundaries leads to resentment, exhaustion, unforgiveness, and overwhelm.
Sadly, most of us have difficult or toxic individuals in our lives, and they tend to throw a wrench in the Holidays. The good news is that when you set healthy boundaries, you can stress less, redefine your relationship and regain some much-needed peace.
Pay attention to your body barometer and what your body reveals when you are around a challenging individual (family, friend, or coworker). Does your heart race, your blood pressure rise, or your hands shake? Do you get a migraine? Are you left feeling depleted once they exit the scene? These are all physical signs that you need to set boundaries; sooner rather than later. You may experience emotional symptoms, including anxiety, depression, anger, and more.
When considering loved ones you’ll be seeing this Holiday – who brings you stress? And for the record, it may be more than one person. Boundaries will help you navigate the season with ease and grace, and that’s a gift that keeps on giving.
Just Say NO to Family Drama
Do you have any offenders in your family? Will any of the characters below be guests at your holiday table?
- Drunken or otherwise intoxicated relatives that slur, argue, grope or otherwise offend.
- Narcissists who make every single conversation circle back to them.
- The judge who critiques every perceived flaw in your home, outfit, spouse, or others.
- Troubled friends and family that bring chaos in their wake.
- Condescending know-it-alls that leave every guest feeling annoyed.
- Folks who want to be rescued endlessly ask for money, cars, loans, and more.
- The spoiled one is never satisfied and wants more, more, more.
- The epicurian: comments on how each dish could be improved, but nobody asks.
There are several types of toxic people; it’s fair to say the possibilities are endless.
Setting Boundaries with Family, Friends, and Yourself
Now that you’ve identified those who cause you the most stress every Holiday, it’s time to step into your power and set some boundaries to protect your emotional and physical well-being.
Challenging as it may be, setting boundaries with family, friends, and yourself is incredibly rewarding, and the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll reap the benefits and decrease unnecessary stress.
Let’s take a look at some examples of what healthy holiday boundaries look like.
- Clearly communicate your needs and expectations (unapologetically).
- Set a budget for holiday spending and stick to it.
- Establish house rules: avoid political discussions in the interest of peace.
- NO, your cousin may not bring her untrained dog to the holiday dinner.
- Limit the number of parties you attend or the time you’ll spend at each.
- If you watch your waistline, set a limit on food or alcohol consumption.
- You don’t need to attend every party you’re invited to. Just say NO.
- Feeling empowered to skip, go late, leave early, or drive your own car to holiday parties.
- When a challenging conversation arises -- you have the right to ask to pause it and save it for another day.
New Traditions: Boundaries During the Holidays
Remember, no one has the right to hijack your joy unless you let them. While setting boundaries can be challenging at first, as with any skill, you’ll gain mastery in time.
Being loving, caring, and giving is admirable, but it does not include being an emotional doormat for challenging individuals. Setting boundaries allows for more mutually kind, loving, respectful, and healthy relationships.
Start new traditions and make setting healthy boundaries a top priority this Holiday season. Establishing boundaries during the Holidays is transformational.
May setting healthy boundaries bring you and your loved ones joy this Holiday season!
Grab your free copy of the Ultimate Self-care Workbook to limit your stress and help you set health boundaries. Just click here.
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