Posted 4 weeks ago

Boundaries around the holidays

As the holidays are approaching this is a good time to remind ourselves that healthy boundaries are important. They help protect you from things that can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health.

Many people that are undergoing treatment still want to spend time with friends and family around the holidays. It is, however, an individual choice around what these interactions can look like. It is always acceptable to voice your needs around who you spend time with, social distancing, along with where and how you choose to celebrate the holidays. Remember you get to make your own decisions about what holiday gatherings look like for you! Below are some tips that can hopefully help if you are new to setting boundaries or an old pro.

  1. Give yourself permission to leave or take a break.

What you plan as how you leave a function comes down to you giving yourself the okay to leave or take a break.  This boundary can come in the form of doing something simple like stepping out to get some air by taking a walk. It can also come in the form of setting a time limit that you will stay somewhere or have guests in your home. When you state clear boundaries such as “I will be having Thanksgiving at my home from 10-4 pm” or “I will be staying at this event for 2 hours.” This lets others and you know what the expectations are ahead of time.

  1. Limit your topics of conversation

Something to consider about conversations and thoughts to consider is that not every thought you have needs to be shared. In addition to this, if you have a family member who does not understand or respect boundaries, it is important to not give them information that they aren’t able to appropriately handle. For example, if you have a parent or relative who is critical of your treatment choice or medication, limit what information you give to them. You do not have to answer everything; come up with a reply beforehand that makes you more comfortable and effectively ends that topic of conversation. This is harder with those who might have a history of disrespecting boundaries. It is good to start simple with boundaries only disclosing what you want in a polite and creative way.