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Boundaries for the Holiday Season

It’s that time of year where a lot of us may feel pulled in a million directions. The kids are off school, when should I use my vacation days, when will the grocery store be less crowded, what next cool thing can I do with the elf on the shelf?! With our never-ending to-do lists, boundaries and self-care may not even make the list when they absolutely need to be a priority.

Boundaries are a form of self-care. They help protect our personal space, our emotional capacity, environment, feelings, and responsibilities from others. If poor boundary setting is something you struggle with, the holiday season may be one of stress vs joy and peace.

A simple way to practice boundary setting is asking yourself, is this going to stretch me too thin today or will I have to forfeit something I wanted/needed to get done in order to help this person. There are of course instances where we do need to put things aside in order to be there for someone else, but if it’s a consistent pattern, you may be feeling worn out or even unappreciated. It can be a hard realization seeing effort not being matched.

Time off from work, does not necessarily mean available time. A lot of family and friends want our time and attention, especially during the holidays. So how do we practice setting boundaries to avoid burn out, during our days off no less!

o Check in with yourself – Where is my energy level at, did I get enough rest last night, what things do I absolutely need to do today to feel productive and positive?

o Give yourself permission – Permission to say no, permission to put off a menial task to tomorrow, & permission to ask for help.

o Identify your limits & practice expressing those limits calmly & directly – no need for apologies or long, drawn out explanations

o Manage expectations – We are not responsible for the reaction of others to our boundaries. Accept their response, even if it is unhelpful and that will establish future interactions.

o AGAIN, check in with yourself – Be compassionate to yourself and recognize what positivity and value you gain from your boundaries.

Hopefully this has helped improve your understanding of boundaries and their importance. Continue to self-explore what those are and do not apologize for exercising them.

If you need help setting boundaries, we have a wonderful team of Licensed Professional Counselors to help you better understand your boundaries and teach you how to set boundaries. Call 210-495-3131 or click here to schedule a consultation today.


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