Welcome back to the blog! It’s December and we are STILL in a pandemic! As I am typing I cannot believe I am still referring to the pandemic in the present tense! Geez! And if you keep up with the news or have spoken to a friend I’m sure you’re aware COVID-19 cases in the United States are on the rise.
Just in time for the holidays!
I feel your frustration. So, what does this mean for your holiday travel plans, traditions, or getting into the celebratory spirit? Well, for some it’s minimal to no decorations, non traditional holiday meals, and no gatherings. While others had decorations up before Thanksgiving, created their holiday menu, purchased gifts, and are planning to visit family and friends.
Initially, my husband and I had plans to visit my in-laws, but with the increase in COVID-19 cases our plan are up in the air, and like others navigating the holidays during a pandemic is new for us. We all seem to be in a bit of a pickle.
With our increased time at home I’ve noticed the year 2020 has called for some serious boundary setting. I view a boundary as a limit established to respect the personal wellbeing of a person/relationship and not as an act of harm or hatefulness (even though the person being presented with the boundary may feel this way).
Now more than ever boundaries have been necessary for our means of survival. We’ve had to create boundaries with our spouses, family members, children, work, social media, news, and even ourselves. And it is no different this holiday season.
Holidays are notorious for large gatherings, events, various activities, and tons of congregating; therefore, if you are not comfortable with these conditions because of the current state of the world I have a few tips to help you establish boundaries. In a respectable way of course.
Pandemic: Let’s start with the most obvious reason you might want to establish boundaries with family and friends during the holidays. The pandemic. Whether it’s the increase in COVID-19 cases, occupation of your family member, knowledge of their activities (let’s just be frank the folks who are out and about), or your emotional wellbeing there may be several reasons why you may need to create boundaries with family members and friends despite of the holidays. A few examples are, “You can come over as long as we all wear our masks”, “In order for us to visit we all have to be tested for COVID-19”, or “I do not feel comfortable in gathering during this time.”
Travel: In a similar fashion to the pandemic it may be possible you do not feel up to traveling during the holidays due to distance, transportation, or having to pack ALL the things you’ll need for the kids. A few examples for setting boundaries related to travel may be, “We are celebrating at home this year”, or “Unfortunately, we cannot come to you, but you are more than welcome at our home.”
Tasks/Help: Do you have your little one on a schedule and are worried a visit/visiting family will mess up your routine? If so, it can be helpful to establish boundaries ahead of time. Oftentimes, family members want to help when children are involved so being specific about what tasks, activities, or routines you would like them to participate in can be extremely helpful. A statement such as, “Thank you for being willing to help, I would really appreciate if you can feed him, sing songs, and give him a bath.” Being specific in your ask allows the person helping feel appreciated for contributing, while allowing you to manage the parts of your child’s routine you want to remain in tact. In addition, it may be helpful to keep in mind that most people are truly wanting help by giving us a break. Even with that being said it doesn’t mean we won’t experience any anxiety or irritability; therefore, setting specific boundaries can allow us to avoid some of these feelings.
Traditions: Whether you are celebrating in your own home or visiting your loved ones you may want to incorporate new traditions especially if you have a little one. One way to share this with others is by saying, “We would like to incorporate our own family traditions this year”, or “We are starting a new tradition with our kids and you are more than welcome to join us”.
Again, setting boundaries in 2020 is a must in various aspects of our lives. So, whatever you decide to do this holiday season I hope it is done with your emotional wellbeing in mind and provides you with peace, joy, and most of all keeps you and your family safe.
I’ll be taking it easy the week of Christmas so I can soak up some additional time with my family so there won’t be a new blog post next week. I’ll catch ya’ll right before 2021, and hopefully you’ll be entering the new year as a boundary setting pro.
Happy holidays ya’ll,
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