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I'm an emotional health mentor, edu-preneur and coach who loves teaching you how to understand, manage and embrace your emotions.
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Hey guys! As I prepare for my trip back to Utah for Thanksgiving, I started getting a little anxious. Since going back to my hometown comes with some boundary risks, I wanted to prepare myself for it. So, here’s how to have boundaries during the holidays.
If you’ve moved away from home, you probably know the struggle. When you interact with loved ones you don’t see very often, sometimes uncomfortable topics come up. Or everyone is doing something you don’t really want to do.
Or maybe you have personal patterns you feel like you’ve grown past. But then going back to where you were raised around people who don’t inspire you, you fear regressing.
Personally, I’m experiencing a mix of all of these things. So, I decided to prepare myself the best I could so I can enjoy my time with loved ones.
Here’s how you can prepare yourself if you’re going home for the holidays.
First of all, check in with yourself about the ways you feel personally vulnerable. If you’ve done any growing in the last year, maybe you’re afraid to revert to old habits.
For example, I tend to pack my schedule way too full. Since I want to see everyone, I try to fit it all in. And honestly, sometimes I don’t actually even want to do all the things I plan.
Then I get burnt out. And by the end of my trip, I need another vacation to relax. Sad face.
So, what are some habits that you’re afraid of reverting to? By listing where you feel vulnerable, you’ll be clear with yourself and ready to deal with it when it comes up.
Now that you’ve listed the habits, you’re afraid to revert back to, now it’s time to prepare for them.
Personally, I’ve already resolved NOT to make too many plans when I’m back home.
Also, since I know that sometimes I commit to things I don’t truly want to do, I’m committing to triple check with myself for plans. Meaning, if someone asks me to hang out, I ask myself three times if it’s something I truly want to do.
This might sound silly. But as a recovering people pleaser, this is something I honestly have to do for myself.
For you, what boundaries are you committed to setting for yourself during the holidays?
Next, imagine all the people you’ll run into or see. Are there any problematic people that you really want to avoid that you know will push your boundaries?
Whether it’s because you don’t enjoy that person, or because you want to avoid certain topics, who are you ‘at risk’ with?
And maybe, you honestly don’t want to see that person at all. Is there a way to avoid seeing them altogether? It’s ok not to see someone if you don’t want to!
For me, I have a handful of people that I’m on guard with. Since there are people who don’t respect my boundaries, I know I need to be extra careful with them.
Check in with yourself to see who the risky people are you’ll encounter during the holidays.
Now, if you can’t avoid seeing them, ask yourself what ways you can feel your best around these people. How can you enforce your boundaries?
For certain people, maybe you’ll have topics that are off limits. If it’s an uncomfortable conversation that you don’t want to have, you have every right not to talk about it.
On the other hand, maybe you can limit your interactions with some people. Maybe a polite ‘hello’ is enough, then you pass right along to another person.
Personally, I’m planning on seeing some people who are risky for me. And honestly, the list of things I’m comfortable talking to them about is very short. Also, the context where I will see them is also very specific. But I know my limits and how I’ll be comfortable.
If you can resolve to manage people you feel vulnerable around, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself a lot more.
Another place to look at is specific contexts you know you’re at risk.
For example, maybe you really hate how your cousins pressure you into eating more than you actually want to. You know, pie pushers lol.
When I’m in specific social situations, I get really bothered when things don’t go the way they’ve been planned. And in a certain context, this happens all. The. Time.
So, I’ve resolved to be more accepting in this context. Instead of getting bothered, I’m going to see how I can enjoy myself more when I’m there. Or, I’ll go do my own thing.
Do you have certain contexts that are risky for you? How can you make yourself more comfortable or avoid it altogether?
So, to wrap it up it’s important to check in with yourself before the holidays. Get super specific with yourself about all the ways you’re vulnerable at this time. The trick is to imagine all the scenarios and people involved, then list how you’ll respond. If you prepare yourself, then you’ll have a much better time!
How do you prepare emotionally for the holidays? Tell me in the comments!
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