3 things you absolutely need to do to have a happy holiday!

The holidays are filled with laughter, joy, and connection but let’s be real, they can also be filled with anxiety and stress. Everything from running around from place to place to being stressed about your health to habits taking a backseat, and just not jiving well with that one family member; can all take a toll on your mind and body.

Setting boundaries is a surefire way to reduce holiday stress and keep your healthy routine intact. But how do we set boundaries and not cause problems with the family? And does setting boundaries mean I’m going to be alone? Well, I’m here to tell you…that YES you might upset a few people and no it doesn’t mean you will be alone, but setting boundaries are so worth it. 

Setting boundaries is a surefire way to reduce holiday stress and keep your healthy routine intact. But how do we set boundaries and not cause problems with the family? And does setting boundaries mean I’m going to be alone? Well, I’m here to tell you…that YES you might upset a few people and no it doesn’t mean you will be alone, but setting boundaries are so worth it. 

But before you go and tell people your opting out of that holiday activity. Let’s back it up a bit. 

The first step to setting boundaries is getting really clear on your own needs. This was a deep struggle for me for a really long time. I did what I thought I was supposed to do to be the “good person”; I didn’t want to upset others, and most importantly I was avoiding sitting with my own uncomfortable feelings. Although I didn’t really understand all that then, I was in this unconscious trap of just doing the next thing without really thinking about what I was doing or why.

As a matter of fact, I had such a hard time with boundaries that I judged others who had them. I remember many years of fighting with my family because my sister had set specifics around where, when, and how long she was going to participate in family gatherings. She was doing what she and her family needed but I saw her as being selfish and as my brother-in-law taking her away from us. I wasn’t the only one who felt this way of course, but deep down we were all just hurt because we wanted to spend time with them. And I now know it ran deeper for me. I was so stuck in my heart that I didn’t even realize I was judging. I couldn’t even fathom making a different choice until…I did. 

This battle within my family raged on every holiday and we tried to make the best of it by trying many different things but it just wasn’t working. Finally my wasband (then husband), my son, and I decided we were going to do our own thing. I didn’t realize it then, but that was a small win for me on a path of deep discovery of what my needs were during the holiday season. It has evolved and will continue to expand. But it started with 3 things… self-awareness, honoring my needs, and setting boundaries with myself. 

You see, setting boundaries with others comes later. Back then I set boundaries coming from an “I’ve had enough space” which isn’t exactly the kindest and healthiest way to handle things. But we’re all a work in progress and didn’t know any better then. I’m still light years away from being wonderful at the communication part of setting boundaries. But the other parts are far easier now as they are a daily practice during the holidays and outside of them. 

I cultivate self-awareness by tuning into my body, my feelings, and my thoughts. That can be by taking a walk, meditating, or journaling. Then, I honor those needs. If that means I don’t attend, then I don’t; if it means I leave early or take breaks, then so be it. If it means I buy store-bought instead of bake it all, then ok. Whatever it takes. 

Next I set boundaries with myself. I focus on how I want to feel and what makes me feel that way. Then I map out my non-negotiables. These are things that I don’t compromise on unless it’s an absolute emergency. Everything else I can be flexible about IF I choose to be. 

All that might sound selfish. But if you truly want your family to be happy, then you NEED to be the best version of yourself for your family and the best role model for your kids. Making sure you’re healthy and happy is the most essential thing you can do. Playing the martyr role in your family is tired. That game is over. Seriously, ain’t nobody got time for that sh*t. It’s doing them a disservice and it’s certainly not helping you. Can you say body breakdown real quick?

What is one boundary that you can set with yourself around the holidays? Post below. 

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