The holiday season can be a beautiful time for some and a very stressful and heart touching time for others. Whichever side of the spectrum you and your family fall on, it’s important to remember that everyone else may not be as excited as you during the holiday season. Be mindful of approaching others with sensitivity and empathy when talking about your holiday plans. Holiday plans are often stressful for all families, so how exactly do we strike the right balance of spending time with others who deserve it or ask for it but also preserving time for ourselves or our immediate family? Good question. Here are a few tips to set healthy boundaries for you and your immediate family during the holidays.
Spend some time thinking about your personal families’ needs. Not the needs of your parents, your aunts, or the comments you’ll get when you don’t fulfill them but what do YOU and YOUR immediate family need to connect this holiday season? Be honest with yourself and your spouse and communicate until you two are on the same page.
Let go of the expectations of others. Of course, it’s natural to want to please your extended family by showing up to all three-holiday gatherings with food, kids, and presents in tow. However, it’s impossible to live up to the expectations of others and also create a thriving immediate family system.
Communicate your expectations to others well in advance. Don’t let Christmas eve be the day you break the news to your parents that you won’t be there in the morning. Let them know weeks in advance, to give them time to accept the boundaries you are laying down.
Choose the gathering and be fully present while you are there. It’s easy to justify being half present when you have many events with the same people over the holiday season. Pick a gathering or two that you and your family can commit to and choose to be fully present and engaged in the conversations and interactions.
By setting up and communicating healthy boundaries, you may be experiencing the holiday season doesn’t have to be quite as stressful as we’ve all made it out to be 🙂