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How to Set Boundaries Through The Holidays

Updated: Jan 4

The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness. However, it can also be a source of stress and overwhelm, especially when it comes to managing expectations and boundaries. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of setting boundaries during the holidays and provide practical tips to help you navigate this festive season with ease.

A family sitting around the table, christmas tree in the back

1. Identify Emotions and Understand Your Needs: Before setting boundaries, it's crucial to identify your emotions. Our emotions can be indicators that a boundary needs to be set or has been violated. Once you identified your emotions, you need to check in on your needs and priorities. Reflect on what brings you joy during the holidays and what drains your energy. This self-awareness will help you establish boundaries that align with your well-being. 2. Communicate Openly: Effective communication is key when it comes to setting boundaries. Clearly express your needs and limitations to your loved ones, friends, and colleagues. Let them know what you are comfortable with and what you would prefer to avoid. Remember, open and honest communication is the foundation for healthy relationships. Remember that you only have control in what and how you communicate, and how you follow through if your open communication is still met with pushback.

3. Stay Consistent:

Consistency is important when setting boundaries. If you’re inconsistent with boundaries, others can think you don’t mean it or they can wear you down to doing what they want. Keep your boundary consistent if it’s important to you, be assertive in your communication and be patient - you may have to repeat yourself.

4. Prioritize Self-Care: The holiday season often involves a flurry of activities and obligations. However, it's essential to prioritize self-care amidst the chaos. Set aside time for relaxation, exercise, and activities that bring you joy. By taking care of yourself, you'll be better equipped to handle the demands of the season.

5. Learn to Say No: Saying no can be challenging, especially during the holidays when there are numerous invitations and requests. However, it's important to recognize your limits and not overextend yourself. Politely decline invitations or requests that don't align with your priorities or that would cause excessive stress and anxiety.

6. Create Realistic Expectations: The pressure to create picture-perfect holiday experiences can be overwhelming - I’ve been there. Remember that it's okay to have realistic expectations and not strive for perfection. Embrace imperfections and focus on creating meaningful moments rather than getting caught up in the pursuit of perfection. 7. Establish Technology Boundaries: Speaking about the pursuit of perfection, social media can be a trigger for many during the holidays. Seeing the picture perfect frozen snapshots can impact your expectation and emotions when comparing your life to those still moments in your feed. In today's digital age, it's easy to get consumed by social media and constant connectivity. Set boundaries around technology usage during the holidays to fully immerse yourself in the present moment and connect with loved ones on a deeper level.

Setting boundaries during the holidays is essential for maintaining your well-being and enjoying an stress-free/stress-reduced season. By understanding your needs, communicating openly, staying consistent, prioritizing self-care, learning to say no, creating realistic expectations, and establishing technology boundaries, you can navigate the holiday season with ease and create meaningful memories with your loved ones. Remember, the holidays are a time for joy and connection, and setting boundaries allows you to fully embrace the spirit of the season, without completely burning out.

Needing some support during the holidays? Click here to book a free virtual consultation with one of our therapists!


Written by: Ivonne Hammoud MSW, RSW

Photo of NMC owner and therapist Ivonne Hammoud

Ivonne is the owner, and clinical therapist at New Moon Counselling. She is passionate about supporting her clients through whatever challenges come their way. Ivonne bring an enthusiastic, inovative and down to earth approach to her therapy. She works primarily with adults and couples.

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