Preparing for the holiday season – creating boundaries

The holiday season can be a hard time of year for a lot of people. Some people don’t have connection to family, others have complicated situations and some don’t celebrate Christmas for a multitude of reasons. We also need to factor how many public holidays there are meaning some people may struggle financially or are without their regular supports or activities. 

Regardless if you enjoy the holiday season or if it’s just another day, this is a time of year where people find their boundaries being crossed by family, friends, co-workers and even people in the shops. Creating boundaries can be one way to protect your own sense of self, privacy and even be a way to self-care.

Some ways that you may be able to help implement boundaries are:

  • Sometimes it’s hard to say no to family/friends directly so you may choose to schedule your time elsewhere for instance- volunteering at a pet shelter, nursing home or hospital.
  • Know when to take breaks from family, conversations and/or certain spaces. You might excuse yourself and go for a walk around the block, help out in the kitchen, call a friend or move a conversation into a new direction “I’d rather focus our conversation on ___”
  • Talk to your family and/or friends openly about wanting to “do these holidays differently” and come up with a plan together for everyone to feel less stressed.
  • If you know at social gathering your dietary needs aren’t accounted for or often confused, let other know you want to bring your own food or provide specific options. This also applies if people are collectively purchasing food that sit outside your budget.
  •  Normalise saying ‘thank you, I have other plans/commitments’. Your plans may be the commitment to your self-care over this holiday period!
  • Letting people know, rather than buying multiple gifts you’d rather do a ‘Secret Santa’, bring food or second-hand swap of things you already have.
  • Normalise cultural or personal differences by letting people know that ‘not everyone celebrates at this time of year’. You may also find it also useful to let people know what times of year you do celebrate or are important to you.

We hope that these tips may support you during this holiday season. 

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