The holiday season is upon us, and the majority of you are already asking me on Instagram for tips on how to manage. Often we are spending more time with family, traveling, and out of our normal routine. But here’s the deal. I don’t believe we are meant to “manage” the holidays with family and friends. I feel we are meant to truly connect, reflect on the meaning, and love the people and space we are in. This is where boundaries come in. Boundaries are your friend all year long! They don’t change simply because it’s a holiday.
I know you want to feel empowered, joyful, and free. That is why you are here reading this! So let’s work together to leave the resentments and guilt of last holiday season in the past. It doesn’t serve you or your people anymore.
Commit to less.
I know so many people who truly want to be a part of the friendsgivings and the reunion and birthday party and the cookie decorating play date. I do too! But the reality is, less is more. Pick one or two things you can show up for with joy, and without rushing and stressing, then say “no” to the rest. Committing to less will allow you to actually enjoy yourself, rather than squeezing everything in and feeling drained + frazzled in the process. Plus, no one wants a guest with that sort of energy showing up anyway. Do you (and them) a favor… commit to less.
When you go to your Aunts for dinner, or you have brunch plans with friends in town, drive yourself. This way you can show up when you need to, and leave when your’re ready. Some folks like to hang after, like looooong after. I am not one of these people. I hit my max and need to get home for alone time and recharging. When you drive yourself, you are able to make choices that are best for you instead of waiting around for other folks when you’d rather be in pajamas 😉
Be clear on your non negotiables.
I am a mother now, with two young toddlers. They eat at a certain time, need to nap at a certain time, and turn into monsters if they aren’t settling down for bed at the right hour. Yes, there has been some flexibility as they have gotten older, however it isn’t worth it to them, me, or our hosts to stray too far from our routine. With that being said, be clear on what you can do and what you can’t. If your baby naps at 1 and Thanksgiving lunch is being served at noon, then maybe you need to let your Mother in Law know that you can only attend dessert after nap time. Yes, she may get upset. But you have to do what is best for your family now (and read #5).
Don’t compromise your values
Often we spend time with family members who are in town, or friends we haven’t seen in a while, all for the sake of holiday cheer. But the reality is, the booze can really get flowing, as can the inappropriate conversations. If you find yourself compromising your values because you want to keep the peace, maybe this year is the year you put your foot down. This doesn’t mean you correct or point out the errors in others, it means you walk away or leave early (because you drove yourself, remember?) when the actions and words of others do not align with who you are. It is important to protect your energy and mindset all year round, but especially during the holidays.
Know what’s yours to manage
This holiday season, you may be saying “no” to more people, and these people may not like it… but that is not your problem. I know, I know. That sounds mean, heartless, even insensitive. But it isn’t. Setting a boundary (and keeping it) is the most loving thing you can do. It ensures that you are showing up as your best self; not the self that is tired, stressed, resentful and annoyed. Say “no” when you need to kindly, and manage yourself this year ONLY. Let others manage their own feelings. It isn’t yours to carry, so don’t pick it up.
Don’t take the bait
Often people will take a holiday as an opportunity to talk about children, breastfeeding, divorces, career choices, and other personal topics. I want to remind you, that you do not have to take the bait. You are allowed to not engage. You are allowed to claim your peace. You are allowed to conserve your energy. A simple smile, and “pass the stuffing please” is enough. You are enough. You have nothing to prove, no one’s approval to gain. You don’t have to defend yourself. No excuses or justifications to make. Just PASS.THE.STUFFING.
That’s it for now. I have a few older posts on Boundaries you may want to check out if you are new to this and hungry for more. I also have a video inside my last post on Boundaries with Family too which you can watch here.
Remember, this year can be different. But it is up to you.
As always, I am rooting for you.
Yours in healing,