The holidays are tough on many people every year. It's not a coincidence that I get new clients and old clients call for appointments on December 26th at 8:00 am Every. Single. Year.
The holidays this year are inevitably going to be different in some ways than they have been in the past. It isn't fun to think about, but so many are hurting financially, have lost someone, or have had their life dramatically effected in some way. There is likely going to be quite a bit of thinking, worrying, and possibly even conflict about what is considered safe for gatherings. At the very least, almost no one has the energy level needed to create "holiday magic" like we have in the past. The holidays will be a bit different. But that certainly doesn't mean they can't also be wonderful! In fact, maybe 2020 will force us to slow down and give us a chance to enjoy them more than ever.
It's more important than ever before to have reasonable expectations and set healthy boundaries around the holiday season. Taking some time to consider your limits, the things you will and won't do, and your budget can go a long way in decreasing stress and conflict when the holidays do arrive.
Holiday boundaries might look like:
- "Thanks so much for inviting us, but we're not going to make it this time."
- "Thank you so much for thinking of us, but we don't feel comfortable in a room with that many people. We certainly hope to be back next year!"
- "We won't be able to participate in drawing names this year like we usually do. But we're still so excited about getting together!"
- "I am not talking about politics today."
- "We're so excited to have everyone come to our house! We will be moving the party outside this year."
- Taking time to make decisions about what you feel comfortable with as far as attending gatherings SOON. And sticking to what you decide so you aren't having to make stressful choices every 2 days in December.
- Remembering that you can't control others. People will make choices that you do not agree with. You cannot control those people.
- Making a truly realistic budget and sticking to it. It doesn't have to be the same as it has been every other year.
- Allowing yourself and others space to be sad when needed.
- Allowing yourself rest when needed.
Remember, boundaries aren't bad or mean. They're a way of recognizing your needs and communicating those to others. I truly believe that by setting limits, you'll allow yourself the time and mental space to enjoy the things that matter to you most this holiday season. There will still be so many wonderful ways to celebrate and so many important reasons to do so.
Perhaps above all else, I hope we can show each other quite a bit of grace this holiday season. Everyone will be trying to navigate tough choices. I know we don't want to make an already tough year tougher on each other.
I hope you'll give yourself the gift of beginning to think about what your holiday boundaries will look like. Have a happy Halloween week!