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Setting Healthy Boundaries Over the Holidays

We all know that the holiday season is upon us. For most, it is a happy joyous time with family, but for others, it is a time full of stress. Here are some tips to help relieve your holiday season stress.

You need to begin by setting boundaries and keeping those boundaries.

By following these steps you are improving your relationships with the people whom you care about. You are also improving your health because you are not going over your limits, so you are not stressed about getting everything done. And finally, you are building self-confidence while doing this because you are becoming clear on who and what you are and want.

1. Know your personal limits.

Setting boundaries for yourself can be helpful when you feel like you are spending or taking on too much. This will help with feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed. When you set boundaries, you learn what you want and need for yourself.

It can be helpful to make a list of holiday stressors so that you are aware of your triggers and the limits you have put in place.

2. Prepare and speak up in a calm and direct way.

Prepare yourself to have uncomfortable conversations when stating what your boundaries are with others. You must let others know how to treat you, and what it is that you want from them. When you have this talk it needs to be calm

timing. Then use “I” statements to express what you are feeling due to the actions and not blame the people you are talking to.

Ex. I feel (state your emotion) when (behavior you do not like) because or but (the effect the behavior has on you)

I feel overwhelmed when we go over budget on gifts because I am trying to keep track so we can pay the bill. Can we discuss our gift ideas before purchasing gifts for the holidays?

3. Just say “no” and be comfortable walking away.

Even though we may feel guilty for saying no to certain tasks or outings, you need to know that No is a complete statement. You do not have to explain to anyone why you are saying no. Once you have said no and stated what you want and need clearly, it is perfectly okay to walk away. This is a good option if someone is not respecting the boundaries you put in place.

If you do have to walk away, you do not have to explain or apologize for it. You are not the bad guy; you do not have to defend yourself or explain why you are leaving. This will help you build self-confidence, as well as learn your threshold and when it is time to get up and walk away.

4. Celebrate yourself.

Give yourself a tap on the back, a high five, or whatever you want to do because this is a hard thing to do, especially with people we love. You did it! You spoke up and stated what you are feeling and thinking. Good job!

Keara Jones is a new clinician with Mindsight! She danced while in undergrad and was able to travel to Daytona for three years for Nationals and to Las Vegas during her senior year. In her free time, Keara likes to hang with her family and play with her pups, especially the Corgi whom I will gladly show pictures of. She is always looking for a great taco or pasta dish.

Check out her professional bio here.

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