Holidays and Boundaries

While the most wonderful time of the year is fastly approaching, the holiday season can also bring on a unique set of stressors and pressures for individuals and families. The neighborhoods may be hanging up lights and inflating Santa’s Reindeer, but the inside of homes can sometimes feel much less festive. During the holiday season, it is common for people to experience more tension and stress than they normally would. Along with being a busy time of the year for work, school, and families, there is the added financial strain that comes with gift-giving, hosting parties, and travel. Often, we can set unreasonable expectations for ourselves and allow people to cross our boundaries.

However, this can also be one of the most joyous times of the year. With that in mind, here are a few tips on how to maintain your mental health, while still enjoying your family and your time. 

What are your goals? 

Take some time to set goals for yourself prior to the season. This can look like setting a budget, allowing yourself to say ‘no’, or stopping yourself from purging on holiday treats. Know your limits! Reassuring yourself of the goals that you want to achieve to accommodate the holiday season is a nice way to prepare yourself, in the event, there are any external pressures. 

Be Realistic

You know yourself and what you feel comfortable with. If you only have a certain amount of money to spend on gifts, don’t break the bank. If you don’t have time for four different holiday parties, be honest and prioritize. During this time of the year, it can be easy to get swept up in pleasing the people around us with no regard for our own boundaries. It is important to identify whether you are making decisions out of perceived obligation or genuine desire. 

Healthy Coping Mechanisms

If you feel yourself start to get stressed or overwhelmed, use healthy coping mechanisms to combat your anxieties. 

  • Step away – Find some time to take a break from the festivities. You can make an excuse to go to the store, hide in an empty bedroom or 
  • Breathe – When you feel stress start to become heavier than you can handle, practice breathing exercises. Slowing your heart rate can help create calmness and eventually think more clearly. 
  • Exercise – For most of us, the holidays revolve around food. Making time to take a walk or go to the gym can help increase endorphins and boost your self-esteem.  

If the holiday season has been overwhelming in the past, it’s okay to brainstorm ways in which to balance expectations and pressures from family members. Being reassured of your boundaries, in the realm of emotions, spending, and time can help make the holiday season run more smoothly. Though it is the season of giving it is important to remember to give to yourself as well. Friends and family seeing you happy during the holidays can sometimes be the greatest gift of all. 

If you would like to learn more healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stressors during the holidays, give Tx Harmony Counseling a call at (832) 352-1600 or contact us here

Kaitlyn DeLeon, LPC

Kaitlyn DeLeon, LPC

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