6 Tips to Set Boundaries for Mental Health During the Holidays
Getting the whole family together for the holidays isn’t always healthy. If you have a few family members that you only see once a year on purpose, the tips below can help you both enjoy your holiday and come home healthy.
1. Make Time for Exercise
Bring sturdy shoes you can use to go on a hike. If possible, strive to make at least one hike per day a solo experience. If your family finds this behavior odd, let them know that your counselor is helping you to build new habits. Set an alarm on your phone so you get out and move your body.
2. Keep a Schedule
It can be tempting to say that you’ll only stay for a few hours at holiday parties, but you may find yourself spending the entire day with family and end up feeling overwhelmed. Set an appointment with a friend, even if they’re out of town. If all you’re going to do is sit in your car, drink a holiday coffee, and chat with them, so be it. Guard your leaving time with an outside appointment.
3. Don’t Imbibe Too Much
Drinking too much alcohol, with family or with co-workers, can often have unfortunate after-effects. The folks that you party with at the holiday Christmas party are the ones you have to face on Monday. Sip club soda at the cocktail hour and have a glass of wine with dinner. Period.
4. Book Some Alone Time
Treat yourself to a book or a craft project and block out an hour a day to spend on this gift of self-care. Even family you love to spend time with can get to be too much. If you have earbuds, wear them. Even if you’re not listening to anything, earbuds signify that you’re taking some private time for yourself. Use them to create a small visual barrier between yourself and your family.
5. Ask for Gift Ideas Ahead of Time
If you’re hosting a gift-giving holiday like Christmas, make sure that everyone knows you intend to be done shopping by Thanksgiving. Set a hard and fast “socks” rule. If people don’t give you their gift ideas by Thanksgiving, they get socks. Period.
Recent economic trends have many of us struggling to pay bills and maintain savings. If your budget is tight in the fall, reach out to your loved ones. Suggest that you draw names for adults, only give gifts to children, have a potluck or give food as gifts, or choose another way to gift other family members
For example, you may have an older family member on a fixed income. The best gift they could receive may be cash or the covering of a bill, such as car insurance. Someone else may really need a car repair. Gifts that don’t need wrapping can honestly be a wonderful blessing.
6. Protect Your Non-Working Hours
If the office is closed on December 24th, you don’t check your email. Let your co-workers know that your time off is full; unless a serious emergency occurs, you don’t need to be in the loop. For managers and group leaders, this rule is even more important as your team will apply these rules to their own schedules.
Holiday stress can be incredibly frustrating. Protect yourself by moving your body, stepping back from the workplace, and communicating openly with loved ones.