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  • Alainnah Knight

How To Set Boundaries During The Holidays

Set Intentions For Your Needs (and stick to them)

It can be VERY easy to lose sight of our own needs as we enter the busy holiday season. When we spend time reflecting and setting intentions (maybe even writing them down!), we can stay more grounded in the things we must do in order to feel good. What routine would you like to be intentional about during this season? What are things that you enjoy doing that you can make sure to incorporate? Are there things that you would like to prioritize for yourself?

Practice Communicating Your Boundaries

Tree's with snow behind a rope fence with a sign stating that ski area boundary

Communicating our boundaries can sometimes be hard, but communication can pave a beautiful path for understanding and support. If you notice yourself experiencing some anxiety when thinking about putting a boundary in place, start by practicing communicating the boundary in a mirror. Is there a friend you can now role-play setting this boundary with? Notice how it feels when you say it out loud, does it get easier each time you say it?

Check In With Yourself Before Saying "Yes"

Do you ACTUALLY want to do it? Why are you saying "yes" if you don't actually want to do it? Sure, sometimes we have to do things we maybe don't want to do. BUT, we don't have to continue to put ourselves in situations that do not serve us, or quite frankly, make us feel not great just to avoid upsetting others. So before saying "yes" this holiday season, check in with what you are really wanting, check in with what your intention of saying "yes" is.

Give Yourself Permission To Say "No" Without Guilt

And now the opposite. If you do say "no," GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO SAY NO WITHOUT GUILT! Know that it is okay if you don't go to all 29 holiday events this year. If guilt arises, check in with your thoughts and body and give yourself compassion. This could look like sitting for 5 minutes with those feelings or telling yourself kind words.

Excuse Yourself When Needed (Let's Normalize Taking Breaks!)

Did you know that it is completely okay to take breaks? Sometimes taking a five-minute break away can help us regulate our systems and not be so on edge. If you're at a family dinner and things are feeling a bit too much, it's okay to excuse yourself to the restroom to take a few deep breaths and splash some cold water on your chest/face to activate your vagus nerve. Let's normalize taking more breaks!


Think of setting boundaries around the holiday season like a gift to yourself. By understanding your needs, communicating them, and prioritizing your needs, you can make the holiday season a tad less stressful. You've got this, don't forget the beautiful gift of self-compassion!

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