If it's not a "hell yes", it's a "hell no" -- that's where I'm going to kick off this blog so I want you to read that again! If it's not a "hell yes", it's a "hell no". Let that sink in for a moment and reflect on what that means for you.
I see it all the time, especially during the holiday seasons, we are saying yes to a lot of things when we would prefer to be saying no. I am totally guilty of this, too, so you aren't alone. However, this year I've decided to put myself and my mental health first and I highly encourage you to do the same!
Don't feel like baking a pie? Buy a frozen one. Can't afford the gift exchange at work? Politely opt-out. Feel like staying home and starting your own traditions? Do it.
MAKE THE HOLIDAYS YOUR OWN
Winter break is typically a treasured time to spend with family (close and extended) and do ALL THE THINGS. And, while I generally love spending time doing just that and have MANY TIMES tried to fit it ALL in, if there's one thing the last few years have taught me it's that it's okay to slow down and say no.
Like me, you may also find that the generational traditions that have been imprinted on us since we were children may no longer be serving you, your family or your mental health. I'm here to remind you that you CAN start new traditions today that resonate more with your soul and that incite true holiday happiness - for YOU.
DEALING WITH HOLIDAY STRESS
The holidays stir up unlimited opportunities for joy and laughter and magical moments to remember, but they can also be SUPER stressful! Never-ending to-do lists, baking, shopping - the huge mental load of organizing everything!
Don't forget the holiday parties, which are often hotbeds for incredibly intrusive personal questions, invasive comments about your appearance, and awkwardly heated discussions about current events.
Whoa. If you are just reading this and your heart is beating faster and faster, SAME. Just thinking about this makes me break out in stress hives.
But it doesn't have to!
This year, prioritize yourself and choose to only take part in the events and things that are aligned with you and your mental health. Anytime you need to make a decision this holiday season, I want you to think about that first mantra before you make that decision. Here it is again...
I also want to provide you with some tangible takeaways to really reduce your stress this holiday season and be able to set those boundaries. Let's dive into it!
BOUNDARIES AND MENTAL HEALTH:
It is essential to understand what healthy boundaries mean so you can practice setting boundaries this holiday season. This can help you find peace within yourself and help you avoid uncomfortable situations and feelings.
1. Improve health and relationships.
Setting boundaries is necessary to improve our health and relationships. People don’t go beyond your limit because you explain to them how it makes you feel. Hence, you feel respected, and you trust each other. This can result in a feeling of happiness and contentment.
2. Gain self-confidence.
When you set boundaries, you get clear on who you are and what you want. You are not afraid to say it. You know your values and belief systems. This brings focus to yourself and your well-being. You also tend to avoid burnout because you have gained a greater sense of identity. These characteristics increase your self-esteem and assertiveness.
HOW TO SET HEALTHY BOUNDARIES:
Now that you know what healthy boundaries can do for you, let's dive into some ways to set boundaries for yourself this holiday season, shall we?
1. Suggest a get-together after the holiday season.
There is immense pressure to participate in every single family event during the holidays and a dense that not doing whatever it is everyone else wants that you will appear selfish or be hurting family, friends, colleagues etc. But I highly recommend putting yourself first and structuring the holidays in a way that best suits your own schedule. You can always suggest to people instead of cramming something into that short period of time, you can carve out some quality time after the holiday season!
2. Role-play the scenario.
This may sound funny and I get it, at first I was like "Okay, this is too weird" but it actually helps to play out potential situations and really prep yourself on how you are going to approach an uncomfortable situation because saying no can be really difficult at first. Like anything, it comes with practice. Role-play what you might say and how you will handle a confrontational response. Use a friend or family member as a sounding board to establish an appropriate boundary, whether that is avoiding the situation entirely or making it clear in advance that you will not discuss specific topics or engage in certain behaviours.
3. Understand what you want and WHY.
I know this can be difficult for some people but it is so important when trying to set boundaries for yourself. You will likely need to speak up for yourself often until the point really gets across to all your family members and friends. The next time you want to set a boundary, do these things:
- Take a deep breath.
- Say an affirmation like “I can do this!” or “I need to do this for myself and my peace of mind.”
- Think of a positive thing about that person, yourself, or the situation.
ONE STEP AT A TIME
Start small. Build new healthy boundary habits. Repeat action.
Which one of these tips will you start with today?
Friends, I hope these tools serve you in your wellness journey and help support your mental health and healing the whole year through. Sending you all positive energy for a happy and healthy holiday!