Do you get a sinking feeling in your stomach when you think about the holidays? Are there family members that push your buttons and leave you feeling emotionally drained and exhausted? Most holiday stress comes from our expectations and our relationships. Do you feel disconnected or driven to drink more than usual during the holidays. Many of us do. In my practice, boundary setting is central to anxiety that my clients experience.
Learning how to hold boundaries with love is a life long process and journey for most of us. If you love deeply, then you have boundary issues. If someone in your family is sick or has a disability or chronic illness, then you have boundary issues. If someone in your family marries or divorces you have boundary issues. If someone in your family has a baby you have boundary issues. When families change, and change is constant, we all experience boundary issues in our relationships which has an impact on our expectations of ourselves and eachother.
Expectations are the second pillar of stress during the holidays, and inherent with expectations are boundaries. What do you expect from others during the holidays? Are you a perfectionist? Do you spend hours on Pintrest or shopping to find the perfect table setting to please a family member who you know will approve you for having made such a purchase. Do you expect family members to come to your house or traditions to be fulfilled each year. What happens if it is impossible for a tradition to be fulfilled? Can you roll with change and accept that change is a constant and look for the good in change? If you can then you will experience more joy.
Do you over-spend during the holidays to please others while feeling tremendously guilty about putting your family in a pinch for the new year? Are you putting others ahead of yourself to the extend that you are diminishing your savings? Don’t do it! Set a boundary around budgeting. Stick to your budget and plan to buy small tokens or make trinkets or baked goods for your loved ones. Focus on unconditional love. Unconditional love means that it truly does not matter how much money or how many gifts you give someone, but more that you are showing your love in some way. It truly is the thought that counts.
Focus on your values and you cannot go wrong. Do you value integrity? Traditions? Honesty? Time with family? Cleanliness? Happiness? Courage? Perserverence? Kindness? Connection? Love? Get clear with a list of values that you hold and then allign your to do list and your budget with those values.
I see major gains for clients who are able to boldly set boundaries within their relationships, with money, with their expectations of themselves, and assert their needs in a way that is kind, considerate and self-compassionate. Balancing the needs of your family with your own personal need for happiness can be tricky. Give yourself 51% and the rest give to your family and loved ones. When you are fulfilling your own needs and feeling the love for yourself then you will have the energy to give to those around you and that will amplify their experience. Should you need a holiday consult to clarify your values and your boundaries I am here to help with intensives that utilize writing and process work to clarify your goals for how you want to feel during the holidays. Go to my calendar to set up an initial time to talk on the phone. I look forward to talking soon!