B is for Boundaries: Strategies for Keeping the Holidays Happy

The holidays are supposed to be a time for happiness, cheer and wonderful family experiences, right? For some this isn’t always the case. The effort to keep spirits high as the snow falls or the idea of spending time with a mother-in-law that constantly criticizes you might instead feel more like a Halloween horror. To help increase your enjoyment during the holiday season it’s important to have your boundaries in place. 

Although the holidays may mean more family time this does not mean you are under any obligation to endure negativity or discomfort. Empower yourself by creating a boundary between you and the person you are feeling less than thrilled to be around. For instance, you can develop several excuses to excuse yourself for a mini-break during a gathering, such as taking a step outside or offering to wash dishes. You can also create a code word or phrase for you to discretely clue your partner in on when it is time to leave. Being strategic, such as choosing a seat on the other side of the table, also helps to minimize undesirable interactions.  

A holiday game plan to create a boundary between you and gloomy feelings that may threaten to emerge is also beneficial. You will want to add to your plan anything that helps create feelings of happiness or provides distractions from dwelling on any negativity. Consider any fun activities, scheduling time with friends, having a list of books you want to read, exploring new walks you want to go on, and working on crafts or projects. No matter what you choose, creating boundaries to help shield you from the negative energy from certain family members and having a holiday game plan can help to increase your enjoyment during the holiday season and have you feel all the more bright.