10 Holiday Boundaries to Set this Season

10 Holiday Boundaries to Set this Season

Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.

Brené Brown

Holiday boundaries.

They’ve been on our minds– and in our conversations– for awhile now.

But as you’re navigating your own limits around what celebration will look like this year, don’t miss the opportunity to examine all the other sorts of boundaries that’ll support your emotional wellness.

Read on for 10 holiday boundaries to set this season:

1. What you value

It sounds simple enough, but when’s the last time you paused to consider your priorities before the chaos of the holidays begins? Just a few minutes of reflection can help you get clear on what you actually want from the season: Time with family? Relaxation? Connection to something greater than yourself? Once you have the answer, setting holiday boundaries that support your priorities will be much simpler!

2. How much you spend

Setting a budget (and sticking to it) might seem like it takes away from the magic of the season. But, without some idea of what you can afford before you start spending, the holidays can quickly become a source of serious financial strain. And there’s nothing magical about that.

3. How much you do

Maybe you’ve had some Pinterest-perfect new activities planned for this season. Or some tried-and-true family traditions to enjoy. (Or both!) No matter how fun your those plans might be, too much pressure to see them through can can wear on you and your family. This year’s been a wild ride. It’s worth taking a moment to get real about what you can all reasonably handle.

4. Who you see

Too many people to see and not enough time in the season? Try making a list of the people you truly want to spend time with (in person or virtually) over the holidays. Chances are, there’ll be some you can see in the new year. And others who, let’s be honest, you maybe don’t really want to see at all. Once you start clarifying the must-see names on your list, finding time to connect with them should start to feel more manageable.

5. What you attend

From gift exchanges to family gatherings… there’s no shortage of invites this time of year! And while it’s easy to believe that each event is obligatory, most probably aren’t. So, pull up your calendar and make some decisions about what’s a Yes and what’s a So sorry to miss. It may feel tough at first, but once you make that first decision, you’ll feel an instant rush of relief. (Trust us.)

6. What you say

Of all the things we may try to control, all we truly can are the things we say and do. That might feel limiting, but it can actually be quite liberating! When you accept full responsibility for your words and actions, suddenly each traffic jam, each retail experience, each lively debate around the dinner table becomes an opportunity to leave the people you meet this season in better condition than you found them.

7. What you allow

It’s frustrating but true: People will say and do things that hurt and offend you. Even during the holidays. And though you can’t control the choices of others, you can make your own choices about what you will and won’t tolerate. Decide ahead of time where you draw the line with certain comments and behaviors, plan an exit strategy (e.g., change the subject, leave the room, leave the gathering), and then if that line is crossed, give yourself permission to follow through.

8. When you rest

There’s nothing like a full calendar to signal the need for some self-care. How will you take care of yourself this season? Maybe it’s a walk in the fresh air or just a good old-fashioned nap on the couch. Make a list of options that appeal to you, then sprinkle them throughout the coming weeks.

9. How you give

Perhaps you make one formal, planned donation each year. Or maybe you prefer to give spontaneously– outside the grocery store or when kids show up at the door selling something festive. However you choose to share your resources this season, be it an hour of your time, coffee for the car behind you, or whatever else stirs your spirit… just make sure it aligns with your values. It’ll make the gift that much sweeter.

10. What it means

Forget what Target, Hallmark, your relatives and your neighbors say should matter most to you. Here’s a little secret that has big potential to change your whole outlook this time (and any time!) of year: The holiday season can mean whatever you want it to mean. It’s totally up to you.

Enjoy this post? You might also like:

How to Practice Gratitude When You’re Not Feeling Particularly Grateful
Self-Compassion: 4 Ways to Start Practicing It Today
Your Emotional Wellness: 50+ Ways to Support It

Need help setting some holiday boundaries this year?