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Setting Boundaries During the Holidays to Avoid Seasonal Stress

The holidays can be a hectic time for many people. Here are some tips on setting mental health boundaries to avoid holiday stress and enjoy the season more.

7 Holiday Boundaries to Protect Mental and Physical Health

It's the most wonderful time of the year... until it's not. For many people, the holidays are a time of stress and anxiety. There is pressure to spend time with family, see friends, go to parties, and buy the perfect gifts. It can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season and forget to take care of yourself.

This year, try setting some boundaries during the holidays to help protect your mental and physical health. Here are seven tips to get you started.

1. Set Realistic Expectations for Yourself

One of the most important things in life is setting realistic expectations. If you set the bar too high, you'll likely be disappointed when things don't go according to plan. It's important to remember that we are all human and have limitations. For example, if you're working full-time and have a family, it might not be realistic to also volunteer for a toy drive and bake cookies for the neighborhood holiday party. Choose what's most important to you, and let the rest go.

2. Avoid Over-Scheduling Yourself

As the holidays approach, many of us find ourselves filling up our calendars with parties, events, and other social gatherings. While it's important to spend time with loved ones, it's also important to set boundaries during the holidays to protect your mental and physical health. Over-scheduling yourself can lead to holiday burnout, which can leave you feeling anxious, exhausted, and even sick. To avoid this, try to leave some free time in your schedule for rest and relaxation. You can also say no to invitations that you're not truly interested in. Don't feel obligated to attend every holiday party. Instead, focus on spending time with the people who matter most to you.

3. Say No to Last-Minute Requests

Whether it's attending an extra holiday party or staying up late to wrap presents, last-minute requests can add unnecessary stress to an already busy schedule. And even if you're not busy, last-minute requests can be stressful. They usually come with a sense of urgency, which can add to your anxiety levels. In addition, last-minute requests during the holiday season are often unreasonable. The person making the request may not have thought through all the logistics, or they may expect you to drop everything to accommodate them. Focus on your own needs and priorities, and don't hesitate to say no to last-minute requests.

4. Take a Break If Needed

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the holidays, it's essential to take a step back and take care of yourself. It's okay to take a break from the gift-giving, the parties, and the general merriment. In fact, it might be exactly what you need to get through the holidays with your mental and physical health intact.

5. Stick to Your Routine as Much as Possible

A routine provides structure and stability, which can help reduce anxiety and promote feelings of calm and well-being. Of course, life is unpredictable, especially during the holidays, and there will be times when your routine needs to be adjusted. However, if you can stick to your routine as much as possible, it will provide a much-needed sense of continuity. That might mean setting boundaries during the holidays and saying no to invitations that could compromise your regular exercise routine, healthy eating plan, or sleep.

6. Take Time for Yourself Every Day

The holidays can be a hectic and stressful time for many people. There's pressure to spend time with family, shop for gifts, and attend holiday parties. It can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and forget to take care of yourself. However, it's important to set boundaries and make time for yourself every day, even if it's just a few minutes. Taking some time each day to relax and reset can help you stay calm and focused during this busy season. Exercise, meditation, and spending time in nature are all great ways to reduce stress and improve your physical and mental health

7. Change the Topic

Mental health boundaries are essential during the holidays. Relatives can be nosy; sometimes, they ask questions or pass judgment on things you don't want to discuss. For example, if and when you have children or whether you should leave your 9-to-5 to start a business. In this scenario, you can simply change the topic of conversation. Remember, you are not obligated to listen to anyone's opinion about your life. You can politely ask them to pass the dip or tell them you're uncomfortable discussing that topic and move on. You can always excuse yourself from the conversation if they continue to press the issue. There is no need to engage in an argument or debate with someone who is only interested in hearing their own opinion.

Final Thoughts

We hope these mental health boundaries help you enjoy the holiday season without feeling overwhelmed or stressed out. Remember, the holidays are a time for family, friends, and enjoyment. So, focus on the things that matter most to you, and don't hesitate to say no to anything that doesn't bring you joy.

Wishing you a very happy holiday season!


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