Holidays are here, and that means BOUNDARIES ARE NEEDED. Hahaha! If you LOVE everything and everyone at the holiday times, then move along- this isn’t for you! If you have a hard time right about now, then grab pen and paper and let’s list EVERYTHING you dislike or hate about right now. Next, look at where does that come from… probably your expectations of the holiday time… and lastly, WHERE DID THOSE come from? Did they come from movies, past experiences, your hopes, and dreams? Are they realistic? For example, do you want a white winter Christmas with fire, but you live in Miami? Or do you want everyone to travel home all the time, but now there is extended family or kids that make this complicated? Maybe it’s simply that you don’t want Uncle Ron to show up drunk. Whatever those expectations are, write them out then talk to people about them. So many times we forget that we actually have to tell people about our feelings and desires, and they don’t actually magically know them. In the best of the worlds, everyone would say, “Hey that’s cool, let’s do it your way”. In reality, there are multiple personal preferences, family beliefs, and desires, so where can a compromise be made? I’ll give you mine… I decided long ago that the actual day wasn’t important to me… it was the time spent with the people I love. Because of this, I don’t demand that my kids come home on the holidays. Instead, I ask for a long weekend in a better time of year where prices are better and travel isn’t crazy with bad weather. It works for me since during the holidays, the kids are scattered with conflicting obligations, and we all have a better more relaxed time.
If creating boundaries is new for you, FIRST look at how you treat yourself! If you let your own rules go at holiday time, it’s conflicting to ask others to honor them, and you may find they ignore them just as you do. Start small. Keep up your exercise regime, keep sugars low, and don’t drink just because it’s how you have coped before. Once you have done these, continue to expand your boundaries to include the big changes you want to make. The bottom line is that it is 100% ok to change plans, not show up if it is causing you mental stress, and to enjoy the holidays your way.