The holidays can be filled with joy, but can also stressful for so many reasons. In order to preserve your happiness (and sanity) during this special time, setting healthy boundaries is non-negotiable.
Need extra help setting boundaries during the holidays?
Saying No and setting boundaries is never an easy task, especially if you consider yourself an empath or a people-pleaser. The upcoming holiday season is a great time to strengthen your boundary-building muscles and learn to protect your personal energy.
Personally, as a recovering people-pleaser, learning to set boundaries within my life has been one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn. At the same time, it’s been the driving force behind changing my life and creating happiness without all of the guilt.
When we focus on setting healthy boundaries during the holiday season, we are giving ourselves a chance to realign with the true meaning of the season. We can focus on spending quality time – as much as you wish – with family and friends and remember the power of gratitude in every moment.
What are healthy boundaries?
If you haven’t read my book, Boundaries with Soul, I highly suggest picking up a copy. Within it, I share all about the different types of boundaries and what exactly healthy and soulful boundaries feel like.
In general, healthy external boundaries are physical, emotional, and mental limits. It’s important to create these limits in order to not feel used, violated, or manipulated by others.
When it comes to your internal boundaries, think of it like keeping a promise to yourself. It’s a form of self-respect and a mechanism to protect your thinking, behavior, and feelings.
So, in essence, healthy boundaries are boundaries that protect your ultimate happiness and your truest self. They keep your physical, emotional, and mental needs as the priority and clearly communicate to others what’s okay and what’s not okay.
How do you set healthy boundaries?
Setting healthy boundaries is, as you can imagine, a very personal process. So, how do you develop boundaries?
If you’re a people-pleaser, it takes time to uncover what it is what makes you tick. I suggest by starting to look at a time you felt angry, resentful, or frustrated and ask yourself if there was a boundary being violated.
Communication is a very important part of setting healthy boundaries, as you can’t let others (and yourself!) know what’s okay without verbally explaining it. I suggest starting with finding ways to say no that feel approachable to you. Discomfort is normal while setting boundaries, but the payoff is worth it!
What happens with a lack of boundaries?
Chances are, whether you know it or not, you might’ve already experienced some side effects from a lack of boundaries.
When it comes to your emotions, it’s easy to constantly feel frustrated and misunderstood. Over time, those frustrations might become bigger and stronger, possibly even turning into resentment. Mentally, a lack of boundaries can take a toll on your overall mental health.
Physically, you might find yourself wracked with anxiety. Your stomach might feel like it’s constantly in knots, your hands feel clammy, or your head hurts. These, to me, are all signs of boundary violation.
On the spiritual side of things, a distinct lack of boundaries can challenge you to reassess your worth. You might begin to feel like you’re the bad person. A consequence of this is getting out of touch with your higher self and what you truly want out of life.
Setting healthy boundaries during the holidays
The holidays are usually a time filled with love, laughter, and lots of brie. It’s a time to reconnect with loved ones near and far and remember the true spirit of the holidays.
Of course, until it’s not.
Holiday time can also be filled with prying relatives, demanding work schedules, and a crazy amount of travel. With so many gifts to buy and people to see, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
Listen up: there’s nothing worse than regretting something you didn’t say or do during this time of year. Leaving you with a feeling of regret because you didn’t feel present enough or because you were harboring so much resentment towards Aunt Jane.
So, believe it or not, the holidays are the perfect time to flex your boundary-building muscle. Begin to uncover how you’re feeling and when. Make adjustments accordingly.
Healthy boundaries and self-care
If you’ve been following my work for a while, you know that setting boundaries and saying No are my two favorite forms of self-care.
To me, true self-care, the type the saves and changes lives, starts with a look within. We have to figure out what’s important to us, what’s worth fighting for, and where we draw the line.
It is up to us to teach others how to treat us. We can’t expect them to read our minds or guess what we’re thinking.
Only you hold that power.
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