The holidays can cause an overwhelming mix of emotions – with family dynamics and relationship struggles, it can create an environment open to inappropriate comments and opinions. This season can be a magical time filled with joyful decor, hallmark movies, and social gatherings, but on the other hand, it can be filled with events that feel dreadful. If you’re struggling this holiday season, know that you’re not alone.
It took me a while to feel comfortable enough to decline going to certain events. I always worried about hurting someones feelings and was easily pushed into things I would’ve been happier otherwise declining. Over the years I realized I wasn’t doing myself any favors by saying yes to everything and not setting boundaries. Instead, I was jeopardizing my own happiness and mental well-being to make other people happy. The holidays became a very stressful occasion, and after several years of feeling anxious months prior to the holidays even starting, I began to ask myself why I do this to myself every year, and what could I be doing differently.
This year, try to get through the holiday season on a more positive note, by setting healthy boundaries.
- Decline events you don’t want to attend: By either saying hard nos or polite declines and refusing to do anything you hate. Whether your plan is to stay home instead or if you have another place you’re committed too, you don’t owe anyone an explanation!
- Excuse yourself from triggering situations or events: It’s not up to you to make them feel comfortable. Being put into an uncomfortable situation is not OK.
- Leave when you want: Don’t commit to staying for an entire event. Take back some control by having the option to arrive late and/or leave early.
- Stand your ground: We all have those friends or family members who refuse to accept a polite refusal to attend their event. Learning to advocate for yourself is so important – no one should push you into something or make you feel guilty for saying no. Learn how to set boundaries and have others respect your limits. Do what’s healthiest for YOU.