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Setting Holiday Boundaries
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Setting Holiday Boundaries


Some things are so simple, we just need to give ourselves permission! Don’t want to make homemade apple pie? Bring a frozen one. Can’t afford the employee gift exchange? Politely opt out. Not willing to spend the night at a relative’s house? Book a hotel stay instead.

Your mental health can’t afford not to have boundaries. Here’s what to do:

  1. Decide on your boundaries in advance.

What things are important for me to do during this holiday season? How do I want to feel after the holidays are over? Do I need some time for myself during the holiday season? What will help me feel happy during the holiday season?

It may take us time to determine what boundaries we want to set with ourselves and with our loved ones.

  1. You don’t HAVE to. Don’t feel obligated to travel.

If you don’t want to travel right now, that’s OK.

If it’s better for your mental health to stay close to home this year?  That’s what you need to do!  Avoid the triggers, stay on your path!

  1. Say “yes” only to the events you truly want to attend.

We tend to overfill our schedule with holiday parties (usually out of the desire to please others), and then feel emotionally exhausted.  We need to mix “self-preservation” into this recipe. Say “yes” to the events you want to go to, maybe just 2 or 3!  Protect your mental health.

  1. Set a budget for gifts that won’t cause you anxiety.

Communicate ahead of time in whatever way feels right for you. Talk with your family and friends and agree on a gift-giving strategy that’s still celebratory but less stressful!

  1. Excuse yourself from triggering conversations.

Avoid those triggering situations if you can ― sometimes that means not going if you know someone will be there who disrespects you. If not, Ryland recommended saying, “We will just have to agree to disagree” or “I am here to enjoy family and the holiday, not debate.”

You can do this!  Get through the holidays, but protect your mental health at all costs. If you feel triggered, emotionally exhausted or disrespected, leave!

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