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Boundary Setting During the Holidays

Around the holiday season there are more social commitments, higher expectations, family obligations, and more opportunities for sweets and drinks. All of these extras push us out of our normal routine and can put a toll on our mental wellness.
 
We are much more inclined to say yes when we really want to say no because “it’s the holidays.” We spend more, eat more, and most often put others before ourselves. This is okay, the holidays are a time for giving and celebrating, but not at your own expense.
 
How many times have you thought to yourself after a stressful holiday season that you will do things different next year? “I won’t stress over buying a gift for so or so that doesn’t appreciate it anyways.” Or “Next year I won’t be going to that party, every time it is the same stress”. Setting personal boundaries and being okay with enforcing them is one way to help decrease the stress and maintain your own mental wellness.
 
So how do you do that?
 

  1. Sit down and think about what you really want and need this holiday season and what you can do without. Do you want to have more time at home alone with the family or do you need some personal alone time? Can you do without attending a certain party or do you want to change a tradition? Communicate these with your partner, or someone you will be spending the holidays with, and come up with a plan.
  2. Practice saying no now. Saying no is one of the hardest things to do, but the most important in enforcing boundaries. If you struggle with saying no, start small. Say no to another drink or cookie, say no when someone asks you to go to dinner at a place you don’t really like and offer somewhere else. With practice we automatically become more comfortable with something. By saying no we are being authentic to ourselves and treating ourselves kindly.
  3. Practice self-compassion. I say practice because it’s a skill, just like learning to say no. Self-compassion will help with the guilt you will feel in standing up for your wants and needs and saying no to someone. Saying to yourself, this is okay, I am a good person for treating myself kindly, this feeling of guilt, anxiety, fear etc. is normal. Then, do something that makes you feel good.
  4. Remind yourself that you cannot control other people. Other people may not understand why you are doing something different this year, or understand why you choosing not to go to a certain event, and that’s okay. It’s not up to you to make them understand your boundaries; however, it’s important you express them in a respectful way and ask for respect in return.

 
Boundaries are much easier to read about and talk about than to actually apply. That’s why it’s important to start small, be kind to yourself, and communicate these boundaries with your supportive people.

If you would like more support please reach out to our Family Liaison Coordinator, Erika d’Eon at 902-765-5611 or email gmfrcfamilyliaison@gmail.com
 

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