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How do You Set Boundaries With Family During the Holiday Season?

Tips to Set Healthy Boundaries Over the Holidays


  1. Assess Your Feels… When you think of spending time with family, what comes to mind? Are your feelings positive or negative? If they are positive, maybe spending time will increase your feelings of wellbeing. If they are negative, setting limits on time and how holidays are celebrated, will likely be beneficial for you.

  2. Get in Sync… Get on the same page with your partner on how the two of you want to spend your time. Agree on how to divide time between family and friends and how much time you want to devote to fostering your individual relationship.

  3. Prioritize What’s Important to You… Consider what traditions are important to you and set a plan to stick to a few of those that are manageable. Do not over schedule your commitments.

  4. Plan Ahead… Set your plans well in advance for family and friends and prepare for some push-back. Be prepared to hold firm to your preference and do not cave under pressure. If someone does not respect your boundary, that is about them, not you.

  5. Communicate Directly…. Don’t apologize or give long explanations. ...Use a calm, assertive, and polite tone.

  6. Trust in Your Gut… Our nervous system gives us great information about what feels healthy and what does not. Trust in your gut and how you feel in other’s presence. If it is warm and cozy let it be; if it is tense and stressful, remove yourself from the situation.

  7. Save Some Time to Regenerate… The events, the shopping, the wrapping, and food preparation can leave one feeling wiped out. Leave some time for self-care to unplug and rejuvenate. The holidays are for you as well. Some ideas for just enjoying the holidays include:

    • Watch a holiday movie snuggled up with hot cocoa

    • Decorate your home with lights and watch them twinkle

    • Make cookies or one of your favorite seasonal recipes

    • Get a manicure or a massage

    • Make sure you are getting enough sleep

    • Make a mental list of what you are grateful for

    • Remember the holidays are not about being perfect!



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