Five Steps To Help Set Boundaries Over The Festive Period

close up christmas tree

Personally, it’s only been the last year or two where I have really implemented boundaries in my life. Prior to this, the lines were extremely blurred. I spent my life trying to make everyone happy but only ended up making myself miserable. Boundaries are extremely important, and if you are not yet implementing them, let me tell you right now that you should!! The festive period is one of the most important times to set boundaries but not always the easiest! Don’t despair – I’ve put together some steps to help!  

If you want to know more about what boundaries are and why they are essential to not only set but enforce, read this post here first.

The Festive Period & Boundaries

The festive period is one of the most important times to set and enforce your boundaries, particularly if you don’t want to end up ruining your own holiday. This is one of the most challenging times to implement your boundaries because we are so eager to please everybody else. Have you ever ‘compromised’ on a situation and felt like it ruined the experience for yourself? 

It’s time to put your wants, your needs and your desires first. It’s not about disappointing or letting someone else down. Still, you need to be aware that sometimes making a decision for you does have this repercussion, but that’s not your responsibility. 

It is not your responsibility to please everyone else to the detriment of yourself. Let me repeat that: 

“It is not your responsibility to please everyone else to the detriment of yourself.” 

That doesn’t mean you go around being a d*ck, but it does mean you won’t choose to make yourself miserable, so someone else gets their way.

Festive dinner table

Step One:

The first step to setting boundaries is to tune in to what it is you want. You might think this step is obvious and unnecessary, but let me tell you, the number of people who are so used to listening to everyone else’s wants and needs that they never give themselves a moment’s thought is staggering.

Ask yourself:

  • What do I want?
  • What will make me happy?
  • What is the best scenario for my immediate family?
  • Will this make me miserable in the long run?

Step Two:

Understand and accept that you do not need to justify or defend your answer. When we give an answer someone else doesn’t want to hear, we often feel the need to explain or defend our stance. For example, you are invited to a Christmas party that you really don’t want to attend. You write a reply that goes into detail about ‘why’ you cant attend. You feel the need to have an excuse or another obligation. You don’t! No is a complete sentence. Next time you want to decline an invite, try: “I’m sorry I can’t make it but have fun!”

Step Three:

Make sure you use I statements, and you are clear with your responses. Don’t leave room for interpretation or suggest that you are open to persuasion. Be firm with clarity, and you can’t go wrong.

Pile of wrapped Christmas presents

Step Four:

Set consequences if boundaries are not respected. If every year when you attend your family festivities you are constantly quizzed about being single or not having children yet, and this makes you uncomfortable, set a consequence: 

“It makes me really uncomfortable when you ask me these questions; if you continue to make me feel this way, I will have to excuse myself.”

Step Five:

Know that there is room for change. Your boundaries are negotiable but only on your terms. You might set out with one boundary but then actually feel different in the moment. For example, you agree to attend a Christmas party, but you set the boundary, you will only be there until 10 pm and then leave. Once you arrive you meet up with some old friends, and you have the best time – this is a great instance where you can change your boundary.

When changing a boundary, make sure:

  • It’s your decision.
  • You are making it because you want to and not because you feel guilt or obligation.
  • You consider how you will feel the following day.

We all want to have the best holiday period and make it enjoyable for everyone else in the process. Boundaries are absolutely the way to do this.

Thank you for stopping by! Check out my last post here.

Love as always!

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