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Setting Boundaries for the Holiday Season

It is that time when our already busy schedules become even busier. The holidays are right around the corner, and we all know that means a lot of pageants, partying, cooking, shopping, and hosting. Many people find the holiday season stressful; however, there are ways that you can make the holidays more enjoyable for you and everyone around you.

For some people, family gatherings can generate a lot of stress and anxiety. Many people find their family dynamics complicated, which causes them stress. The thought of going home may trigger some painful memories, unfulfilled expectations, or being around toxic people. The holidays are also a time when people reflect upon what has changed or not changed in their lives. Such as this may be the first Christmas since a loved one has passed or pointing out one's feelings of complacency when everything seems the same. It is important to deal with these feelings of anxiety and to recognize them before they begin to overwhelm you. If these feelings are too burdensome, it may be helpful to talk to a mental health professional who can help you work through these feelings of anxiety and sadness.

It is not uncommon for people to feel pressure to fulfill expectations. Such as being expected to make grandma's rice pudding even though they don't have time to make it. Or you were being forced to participate in an event that you don't really enjoy. It is important to identify what exactly is causing the anxiety or why you are doing something that makes you feel overwhelmed and miserable. Take a moment to reflect and jot down a list of reasons for doing these holiday activities and then make a list of reasons you should not do them. Making these lists may help give you clarity and remind you that you do have a choice.

Challenge the expectations that you have identified as not working for you or making you miserable. What would happen if you replaced some of these old holiday traditions that are not working with new ones? Setting boundaries with friends and family can be challenging; however, it will benefit you in the long run. You have a say on what is acceptable and doable for you and your family. Set priorities for yourself during the holidays so that you are spending your time doing things that are important to you. Don't let other people's expectations or judgments influence your decisions about which events or activities to do or attend. Choose the things that make you and your family happy. Don't feel you have to participate in every event or activity you are invited to - it is okay to say no!

Be mindful not to overbook yourself and your family. It may be helpful in reducing our holiday stress by limiting the number of events or activities you attend during this time of year. Consider finding a balance between spending time with your family and taking a break from spending time with them to recharge your own batteries. Remember to take time for yourself to do some self-care!

The holidays can be a busy time of the year, and it is necessary to set boundaries to keep yourself feeling healthy and balanced. Remember to listen to yourself and your family to determine what is most important and maximize spending your time on what you find most enjoyable.

For more information, please visit Or contact New Caney Counseling Center at or call 281-296-3158.

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