The holiday season is upon us in a big way this upcoming week, 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, the reunion, the birthday party, and the cookie decorating playdate. 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 yourself (and them) a favor… commit to less.
“No” scripts to help you:
- “Thank you for thinking of us! We are unable to come this year, but I hope you all have a great time.”
- “That sounds fun, but we aren’t going to be able to make it.”
- “We won’t be able to swing by this time, thank you for understanding.”
- “We are spending the day together as a family this year, thanks for the invite!”
Drive yourself – This is a solid boundary practice for in or out of the holiday season! 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 you’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 nonnegotiable’s – I am a mother to four kids spanning across several life stages. They eat at a certain times, need to nap at a certain times, and can turn into monsters if they aren’t settling down for bed at the right hour. My older children are now able to voice overwhelm sometimes, but as a mom who knows them well I can also sometimes see symptoms long before they do. 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, consider going over afterwards. Even if Christmas dinner is being offered before hand. You can always attend desert!
- Know when you need to leave so that you can stick to it and not risk being caught off guard or staying out of a place of guilt. If your children have a bedtime of 7 or 8 pm because it serves both them and you, leave in time for that!
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.
If you find yourself yearning for more on this because you are just beginning and this all feels overwhelming I have two places for you to start:
- You can order a copy of my recently released book ‘Loyal to a Fault’ where you can dive much deeper into this and much more.
- If you are looking for support, encouragement and communication with me personally – consider joining Discover Your Worth! I have created courses on Boundaries, Healing from Codependency, healing from wounded relationships with your mother, and how to steward your time and treasures in a way that serves you. You also get immediate access to all of the past monthly masterclasses for even more education alongside me and some incredible professionals.
Remember, this year can be different. But it is up to you. What is in your control in the coming week?
As always, I am rooting for you.
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