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Boundaries During the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us and for many, that means spending time with our families. Depending on the relationship you have with your family, this can be great, or it can be anxiety inducing. It seems like there’s always someone at the get together that makes a comment about someone’s weight, relationship status, or has a million inappropriate questions.


This year might be particularly difficult for some people. Last year there were a lot of restrictions because of the pandemic so a lot of families didn’t gather like they usually do. Now people can travel, and we’ll be seeing family we haven’t seen in a couple years. It’s a good idea to think about limits and which topics belong behind soft, hard, and “absolutely not” boundaries.


Soft boundaries can mean that when a topic you don’t wish to discuss comes up, you change the subject or nicely redirect to something else. It’s not something that is particularly triggering but not something you feel like talking about either.


Hard boundaries are for things you will not discuss. You can be assertive but kind when changing the subject. Communication is key because everyone has different boundaries.


“Absolutely not” boundaries are for things that can be triggering or topics we have explicitly taken off the table. A holiday get together is the last place we want our traumatic experiences being brought up. It could be appropriate to tell them you won’t be discussing this, end the conversation, or walk away.


Always remember self-care, especially this time of year. Eat when you’re hungry, stay hydrated, and rest when your body needs it!



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