It may seem a little early, but based on what I see every year, it is never too early to starting contemplating boundaries with our loved ones. I don’t know if there is another time of year, quite like the holidays, that we are meet with so many demands from every direction. Whether it is buying gifts, travelling, or get togethers, there are innumerable opportunities for us to honor our boundaries. Below are a few ways to honor your needs this holiday season.
This year is also exceptional due to our current COVID crisis. Navigating this year’s holiday festivities becomes extra tricky, or extra simple, depending on how you look at it. The nuances in navigating COVID and the holidays may be too complicated to cover in one blog post, but I will offer that being honest with what we need to feel safe and keep our loved ones safe is of the utmost importance this year. Whether its requiring all members to get tested prior to meeting, having a zoom holiday, or quarantining prior /post to getting together, there are lots of creative ways to connect that doesn’t require us to make ourselves feel unsafe.
What is a boundary anyways? Margarita Tartakovsky M.S. describes it as, “A way to assert our thoughts, feelings, and needs, even when these are in opposition to the person with whom you’re interacting.”
Work on being more self aware
Sometimes we become so aware of the needs of others we can begin to lose a sense of what our own needs are. Before the holidays come around, make it a practice to be more intentional with your self. Slow down pay attention to what it is your needing through out your day to day life. Are you honoring it, mindfully compromising, or chronically giving way to others? It is important to have a clear sense of what brings you joy, what your priorities are, and how you want to spend your time. These principals will help inform you daily, but also during this demanding festive season.
If you have a partner, make sure you’re on the same page
Have an open and honest conversation with your partner about what you want to commit to as a family. Set aside time to practically look at the calendar collectively and commit to what you all can and say no together to what you all can not.
Communicate your plans well in advance
We can all have the tendency to push off telling our potentially disappointing news to those we love. In reality being as honest and up front as early as we can is actually a kindness to them and ourselves. It saves us the internal torment of having the conversation lurking ahead of us, and helps our friends and family plan accordingly. Communicating clearly and early also helps you enjoy and find space for your alternative holiday celebration.
The list of ways to honor boundaries during this upcoming season can go on and on, yet the above list really honors the important core framework of how to honor yourself and to be respectfully clear to those in your life as well.