The holidays are fast approaching. Even though it’s known as a joyous time of year, for many people the holidays are a source of anxiety.
The holidays can produce a lot of pressure. Some common issues that surface due to the holidays are:
- Burnout from overcommitting to all of the holiday events
- Overwhelm and stress from trying to create the perfect holiday experience
- Emotional overload from strained relationships, be it with your in-laws or your own family
Think back to previous holiday seasons, and ask yourself the following questions:
Have I ever left a holiday event emotionally drained?
Have I ever left a holiday function crying?
Do I often catch a cold after the holiday season?
Did I ever wish I didn’t stay at a function as long as I did?
Have I ever regretted the choices I made during the holidays (spending too much, drinking or eating too much, overcommitted myself and my family, or chose the wrong events for myself or family because of pressure, etc).
If you answered yes to any of these, you have a history of practicing poor boundaries, and are due for a boundary tune up. The holiday season is a perfect time to strengthen your boundaries. Not only will it help you feel emotionally and physically healthier during the season, but it will allow you to enter the new year feeling more refreshed and hopeful rather than drained.
A simple way to start practicing better boundaries this coming holiday season is by reading, reciting, and living the following mantra: “It’s okay to say no.”
Say no to the gift exchange at work.
Say no to going over your identified holiday budget.
Say no to spending half of your day in a car driving from one family dinner to the next just to make everyone else happy.
Say no to that extra drink at the end of the work function that’s going to make you feel crappy in the morning.
Say no to staying longer than you really want to at the neighborhood holiday event.
Say no filling up every day, every evening with errands, events, etc.
Say no to having a conversation with your family member who is 3 drinks in, and you know exactly how this situation goes..
By saying no to these external pressures you are saying yes to:
Say yes to no regrets about spending.
Say yes to feeling safe and comfortable about your finances as your approach the New Year.
Say yes to leaving the family party emotionally content and satisfied with the interactions.
Say yes to feeling rested and happy with how you used your time on that particular day.
Say yes to waking up feeling positive about the day ahead of you, and satisfied with the choices from the night before.
Say yes to feeing at peace with how you spend your time.
Say yes to filling that extra time you left open today with taking a nap, or a yoga class, or watching a movie with your kids.
Say yes to continuing therapy to learn how to care for and best manage relationships with family members.
Boundaries don’t always have to be complicated. Just a simple “no” can put us on the track of healthier relationships, better use and practice of quality time, less possibility of a broken immune system. No may sound negative, but saying no to others, allows us to better invest in ourselves and our loved ones.
For more support and to increase your success, talk to your partner so you two are on the same page. If you’re streamlining your holiday calendar, make sure both of you feel like your interests are represented. Game planning with them in advance about an exit strategy helps keep you both accountable. You’re a team in this.
Be gentle with yourself as you take on and practice this skill. Developing and maintaining boundaries can take time and practice. Boundaries are trial and error. Having added support from a therapist who can validate your choices and give you additional strategies can be very beneficial in maintaining boundaries. If you think you may want more support and professional guidance with maintaining healthier boundaries and reducing stress, call Aimee to book appointment today: (610) 608-0390