The holidays are a time meant for meaningful connection, gratitude, and quality time with loved ones. 

But what if the time you spend with friends and family needs a limit? For many, setting healthy boundaries with others is a difficult task that takes courage and preparation. However, it’s necessary if you’re going to feel good during a stressful time and make the most of the holiday season. 

Personal boundaries tell and show people how to treat you. By managing the way you interact with others, you set the standard for how you want to be treated. Although you can’t control what others do or say, you can take certain steps to protect yourself and your feelings.

Let’s dive into 4 tips so you can maneuver setting healthy boundaries with loved ones this holiday season.  

Practice Self-Awareness

Without being aware of the situation in front of you, you can’t find a solution or ways to cope. And with the extra stress that piles up during the holidays, it’s crucial to practice self-awareness.

Practicing self-awareness will help you identify your needs so you can communicate them with others. Sometimes the most challenging part is assessing what you need from others to feel happy and fulfilled in that relationship, so it’s a solid start.

Being self-aware also helps you recognize why it’s important to verbalize your boundaries and honor them. You can read books about it or simply perform research online to help you practice self-awareness in your day-to-day life.

To improve self-awareness, you can:

  • Keep a journal of things that happen to you, the interactions you have with others, etc.
  • Determine what bothers you about others
  • Remind yourself that you aren’t your thoughts
  • Ask for feedback from people you trust

Communicate Calmly

In the worst-case scenario, communicating your boundaries would cause tension and even chaos for yourself and those around you. When speaking your needs, it’s crucial to remain collected to get the message across effectively. Doing so while angry or upset will only escalate the situation and make it difficult to understand what you need.

Stop worrying about what your friends and family will think when you take the plunge. It takes courage to be honest about your feelings and what you need from others. If anyone tries to shame you for speaking up about your boundaries, then they’re likely not people who want to understand you anyway. 

When discussing the boundaries you’ve set, remember to stay calm and not let anyone’s reactions cause a reaction out of you. As long as you keep your cool and say what you need to say, no one should have an issue. If they do, you can always remove yourself from the situation.

Reduce Screen Time

How often do you get to see all your loved ones at the same time? Even if you’re spending the holidays through virtual calls this year, reducing your social media screen time can help you focus on what matters.

Constantly being on your phone, tablet, or television takes away from the quality time you could spend with friends and family. To build successful relationships, you need to be present and in the moment with others instead of distracted by what’s in your hand.

To reduce your overall screen time, you can leave your phone in another room or have someone else hang onto it for you. Instead of opting for watching TV, start a discussion with someone you haven’t seen in a while.

Leave Your Guilt Behind 

For many people, setting boundaries leaves them feeling guilty, ashamed, and embarrassed. They feel funny for even suggesting that they need boundaries from their loved ones, or are scared to bring up the conversation.

Don’t let anyone guilt-trip you into verbalizing what you need. Your friends and family should have your back and support you with what you need to feel good to maintain healthy boundaries.

Remember that it’s okay if someone isn’t okay with your boundaries. What matters is that you’re okay with them. If someone can’t respect your needs, then they’re probably not fit to be in your life.

Your Turn

Do the holidays stress you out because you know you’ll have to be around uncomfortable people and situations? Setting boundaries allows you to set limits for yourself and others that make it easier to relax and enjoy your time. Don’t let annoying family members or other situations prevent you from being happy and enjoying the holidays with those you love. How will you set healthy boundaries this holiday season?