Happy holidays to you! Happy holidays to you! I hope you read that in the same jingle I sang in my head.
At the end of the Labor Day weekend there was a 300% increase in the amount of COVID-19 cases compared to last year. I know, it sucks that we’re still dealing with the pandemic for another holiday season.
So, what are your holiday plans?
Thanksgiving and Christmas are some of my favorite times of the year to spend them with family, friends, and good food! Since the holidays are a breeding ground for large gatherings, and there is an influx in COVID-19 surrounding them you may want to take a different approach this year as well.
This may call for a boundaries talk with family members, friends, or your spouse. Since the “b” word makes a number of us anxious, uncomfortable, or worried I got you covered with how to approach boundaries during the holidays.
New skills take courage and practice so start by setting a small boundary. This boundary can be unrelated to the holidays. By doing this you should notice a change in your confidence level when it’s time to discuss your holiday boundaries with your family or friends.
Ex: Not checking emails outside of work hours or having 30 minutes of alone time on Sundays.
Be clear & direct
This tip is extremely important when you’re setting a boundary with another person or entity such as work. By expressing your boundary in a clear and direct way there is little room for error and will help avoid confusion.
Ex: “You can come over as long as we all are vaccinated/wear our masks”, “In order for us to visit we all have to have negative COVID-19 test results”, or “I don’t feel comfortable gathering this year.”
Just a heads up, this is the hardest tip to enforce. Explain in a clear and direct way what will occur if the boundary is broken. This way the person/entity you’re setting the boundary with knows what will occur if this happens. As for you, if the boundary is broken or the lines are blurred you know what to do next.
It’s consequences time! Remember boundaries are only helpful if they are kept.
Ex: “You can come over as long as we all are vaccinated/wear our masks, but if you remove your mask/I find out you are not vaccinated you’ll be asked to leave.”
Discuss over a meal
How do you usually feel while you’re eating? Happy, satisfied, or at ease? If you’re nervous about having your boundaries talk do it over a meal. Have a lunch date over a video call, dinner, or chat with your spouse while eating dessert about the boundary you want to assign. This may not eliminate all of your nerves, but can help ease you while meeting the person you’re speaking with at a more relaxed state.
Sometimes we don’t need to assign boundaries to others in our life, instead, we need to assign boundaries with ourselves.
The truth can hurt sometimes. If this is the case share your boundary with someone who will keep you in check and on track. Find the friend, coworker, or family member who isn’t going to go easy on you. Deep down you know who you who would make a good accountability partner.
Ex: I will not work over the holiday weekend or I will only spend __ amount of dollars on Black Friday items.
So, whether your assigning boundaries with family, friends, work, or yourself my hope is you start early. Start practicing and start assigning because Thanksgiving will be here before we know it.
Happy holidays and happy boundary setting friends.
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