Are you dreading a few holiday parties and family get-togethers this year? No matter how much you enjoy how the season brings people together, there will inevitably be a few who clash. It’s important to figure out how to set better boundaries with friends and relatives before you start celebrating, to help create stress-free and joyous festivities where everyone feels welcome.
Here are my Top 6 Tips to help you hash out what’s most important to you and stay strong when asking for what you need.
1. Know What Triggers You
In order for you to set better boundaries for the holidays, you must first know where you need them. Write down all the feelings that come up when you start to feel anxious about running into certain toxic people. This will help you identify potential triggers. Brainstorm ways that these situations could be less upsetting, to help you form the crux of your boundaries.
For example, if the thought of making small talk with your nosy aunt who’s always interested in your love life makes your palms sweat, maybe you plan to focus the conversation on her instead. You could develop a few scripted lines to help you move the conversation back to her, or change the subject altogether to something you mutually enjoy.
2. Prepare For Pushback
You can’t please everyone, so count on a few people not understanding or accepting your boundaries. Remember to stay calm and come from a place of compassion. This may be as new an experience to them as it is for you, so give them a chance to be heard.
If you feel yourself giving in to negative self-talk or people-pleasing, remember that your needs are important too and communicate why this boundary matters to you. And don’t forget, when someone resists a clearly set boundary, it just shows you that it was necessary in the first place.
3. Use Positive Affirmations
I love using affirmations as part of my daily routines anyway, and they are perfect for these stressful holiday interactions! Keep a few favorites in your phone or in your pocket for when you need a break from socializing or extra reassurance that what you’re feeling is valid.
Here are a few examples:
I know my opinion matters whether others agree with me or not.
I am confident in what feels right and true for me.
I know my worth and there is no need for me to explain myself to anyone.
I am in full control of how I choose to respond in any situation.
I am allowed to ask for what I need.
It’s okay to be vulnerable.
It’s okay to want to be alone without explanation.
I know how to stay positive and grounded to easily avoid arguments.
4. Be Intentional With Your Time
How do you want to spend your time with your friends and family when you get together? I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be, “I want to argue and prove I’m right.” 😉 It’s probably more along the lines of relaxing and making lasting memories, or staying present and feeling joyful.
By setting an intention before you meet, you’ll have a guidepost to help you navigate out of any uncomfortable moments and back into a positive headspace.
5. Stay Consistent
You can’t expect someone else to respect your boundaries if you won’t. Only say no when you really mean it, and use your affirmations to help you assuage any guilty feelings (you have nothing to feel guilty about!). Don’t bring up topics you said you’d avoid. Resist the urge to people-please and give in to doing something you know will upset you or sap your energy..
Let your actions match your words and save the flip-flops for summertime.
6. Have An Exit Strategy
Even if people get a little miffed by your new boundaries, your loved ones ultimately want you to feel comfortable. But for those rare occasions when you feel your boundaries are being disrespected, know that you can always excuse yourself from the situation without explanation.
Your well-being is your top priority. So plan for plenty of self-care and activities you find inspiring, so that you can enjoy a holiday season that is truly rejuvenating and special.
LOVE + clear communication!