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Holiday Boundaries

Updated: Feb 10, 2023

Blog post written by,

Dr. Bhritanie Jardine, Psy.D.

While the holiday season may have the reputation of being the most wonderful time of the year, it is also equally known as the most stressful time of the year. Then, with 2020, we throw Covid-19 and the CDC guidelines on top! It’s enough to make anyone feel emotionally exhausted. How do you protect your emotional and mental health during this time, you ask? Boundaries!

There are many types of boundaries ranging from physical and sexual, to emotional and time related. Boundaries are essential to creating and maintaining healthy relationships with others. It’s what allows us to both respect and feel respected by others in our day to day interactions. Once you know what your boundaries are, the challenging part is communicating and enforcing those boundaries with the people around you, and there is no better test of this than being around family during the holidays! Here are some tips to help you stick to your boundaries this winter:

1. Prepare alternative topics : We all have that family member that barely says hello before listing off a number of invasive, personal questions. Instead of feeling like you have to answer them, know that you can set a boundary by stating “That’s not something I feel comfortable discussing” and then quickly changing the topic to something else that you do feel comfortable sharing.

2. Ensure you have some alone time: If you are traveling or staying with family this holiday, it is so important to plan for how you will allow yourself some time to decompress. It can feel utterly over stimulating to be around others 24/7, especially if you have otherwise been quite isolated during Coivd. If you don’t have your own space to retreat to at the end of the day, remember you can at least lock yourself in a bathroom for 15 or 20 minutes to center yourself! This short down time makes it easier to keep your boundaries!

3. Release the desire to convince others: Many are deciding not to travel or gather with family this year due to Covid and depending on how the rest of your family views Covid, you might find yourself getting some backlash. Remember that you are allowed to make your own decisions and set appropriate boundaries without needing the approval from your family. Stick with statements that highlight the real issue of Covid, rather than accepting the judgment that you are being “difficult”.

I hope this helps you set and enforce appropriate boundaries so that you are able to enjoy your holiday season while maintaining respect in your relationships. This has been a challenging year so if you have made it this far don’t forget to congratulate yourself!



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