The most wonderful time of the year
Holidays can be fun and exciting. They also can be one of the most stressful times of the year. I love boundaries. I love talking about them because I find them fascinating and complex. Holidays have always been a time where boundary issues come up. In the last two years, the pandemic has brought holiday boundary issues to a whole new level.
The typical holiday boundary issues that existed before the pandemic are still here as well.
Typical Holiday Stressors:
- Sharing space with family
- Going to two different houses
- People pushing their holiday agenda on others
- Family conflicts
- Family expectations
- Dealing with difficult family members
- Holidays during this political climate
- Holidays during a global pandemic
- Dealing with vaccination-related issues
This is what has worked for me:
1. Accept NO from others – If someone can’t come or wants to come an hour late, fine! We don’t have to force everyone to be in the same place at the same time. Flexibility is nice.
2. Let people be who they are – Chances are that Aunt Suzie is still going to be Aunt Suzie. Everything is a lot easier and more enjoyable when we accept people.
3. Don’t triangulate – Don’t talk to Becky about Suzie. If Suzie upset you, tell Suzie directly
4. Let people have their own space – If they want to visit and stay in a hotel, be okay with that. People deserve to have their own space. It doesn’t mean that they don’t love you. It means that they want their own space.
5. Think about what works for you and set limits – What if your kids want Christmas morning at their own house but your mom wants you at her house? Or your mother-in-law wants you to drive for 6 hours? What if you don’t want to visit a certain family member because of tension? Think about what works for you and set your limits. We get resentful when we don’t set limits. If someone is upset, it is their responsibility to take care of their own emotions
6. Remove yourself if you don’t like a certain topic. We can’t control other people or their opinions. We can always take a walk or go outside
7. Have a plan for Triggers – When all our family members are in one place, there are bound to be issues that come up. Think ahead about how you want to handle strong emotions.
8. Alcohol- Some people drink. Some people don’t drink. Some people over drink. Think about what you want and who you want to be around. There is no judgment here. It is about self-care. The holiday season can be a difficult time for people who are in early recovery. It can also be a difficult time for people who are grieving. It is good for all of us to be aware of this.
9. Eating / Food / Bodies – Don’t comment on someone’s weight. Don’t comment on how much they eat or what they put on their plate.
10. Plan some rituals that feel special to you. Make sure that you give some thought to traditions or rituals that matter to you.