How to have a Happier Holiday

The holidays can be an overwhelming tide of emotions, expectations, and tasks. Boundaries are a great way to keep everything in check.

#1: Put all of your boundary focus on you.  What? Not on your crazy relatives, or the date someone brings to dinner, just you.  You can only control you.

Your boundaries are not some miracle wand you can wave to get everyone else to do what you want this holiday season. That is not what boundaries are about. Use your boundaries to free your mind of, “Things you can’t control”.

Boundaries are about how you will take care of you, your own emotions, and your own expectations.

#2: Use an OPTION or ALTERNATIVE when necessary. If there is a family that indulges in things you don’t like, such as too many gifts, too much drinking, too much eating; it is okay to take steps to take care of you. You can excuse yourself from participating. You can join in later or earlier, you can skip anything that is unhealthy or dangerous for you. In fact, please skip things that are unhealthy for you. You can bring foods that you can eat. Think ahead about options that will work for you and take steps to not be in the back seat when your drunken relative is driving.

If your family has dangerous and unhealthy behaviors, maintain control of your own transportation and safety at all times.

#3:  Make a list of 3 private things that you will find deeply satisfying during the holidays. These can be personal things that you enjoy, whatever gives you a little quiet and peace of mind. You may find some surprising simple things on your list. My 3 things were time to see the snow, reading a novel, and knitting. Use your boundaries to protect your time from work, your phone, and other distractions and do a few satisfying things during the holidays.

#4: Respect your feelings.  If you have grief, or sorrow, that visits you during the holiday season, allow yourself time with your feelings. The holidays have many symbols and triggers for our memories, and our feelings may swell. Try not to isolate yourself. Make coffee or tea dates, go for a walk with people who are accepting and understanding. Join in with others. Do some art, or journaling, or poetry, or singing, to let your feelings be expressed. Try not to hold everything in. It makes the ache worse. If you have lost a loved one, bring out their photo, light a candle by it, wear something that reminds you of them. 

#5. Give calm, peaceful, appreciative energy to yourself and others as much as possible. Many people experience higher stress during the holiday season. Try not to take decisions or actions personally. The decisions and actions other people make are about them, not about you. Notice if you are spending time adding to your own mental stress by nurturing anger and resentment or if you are helping yourself get calmer and appreciative. 

The most important boundary to have a happier holiday is be fully present. Sometimes our minds get busy judging, expecting, wanting, and we miss the beautiful moment that is happening. Quiet the noise in your head, and notice your present.  

Join me for my next Transform Your Boundaries® Workshop  December 4, 9am-12pm