Setting Boundaries With Family Around the Holidays

Written by Samantha Wall, LCSW
Edited by Joe DeNoon

The below video talks about boundaries you can set with your family during the holidays. Please watch the video before you read this blog post. 

In my last blog, we talked about how to take care of yourself if you are grieving during this holiday season. The holidays can bring up so much on a personal level, and they can also bring up difficult family dynamics. In talking about grief and the holidays, we also brought up the need to set boundaries and expectations for yourself and others. Even if you are not struggling with grief, there can still be a need to set boundaries. Whether you are struggling with grief and tough feelings during the holidays, or just family dynamics, setting boundaries can be the difference between a needed break or more stress! 

In the video, Kati brought up many great points on how to set boundaries with your family, and these can be applied to friends and coworkers as well. Acknowledging where you are at emotionally and physically gives us clear red flags on what boundaries to set. If you are feeling really run down and need space, take the night off or communicate to your family that you need your own space. If they are upset about the boundaries that you need to set, that says more about them than you. You need to take care of YOU! You can’t fill up anyone else’s cup when yours is empty. You can even state this when talking about what you need during the holidays. Whether that means staying at a hotel room, your own house, or even leaving the celebration early, listen to your needs. 

Feelings of guilt when setting boundaries can also happen. When we care about others, or even if we don’t, it can be hard to set a boundary if we feel it will upset them. This does not mean you should not set the boundary. It is not your job to take care of others’ emotions. I know it can be hard to remember when we take care of others all day long! If you struggle with feelings of guilt, this could give you some information about feeling in charge of others’ emotions. Feeling guilt is completely normal, and we can work through it! Remind yourself that just because you set the boundary, it is not your responsibility to support others when they are upset about the boundary. As I said before, if they are upset, it says more about them than you. If you feel your boundary is going to help support your physical and mental well-being, that is what is most important! 

What boundaries do you feel are important to set during this time of year? How can you learn to set these boundaries? 

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