It’s that time of year again: time for holiday gatherings, gift-giving, family visits, and an abundance of requests for your time, generosity, and talents. For many people, it is difficult to balance the added stress and stay focused on what the season is really about: happiness. An important way to maintain balance and avoid added stressors is to establish healthy boundaries with loved ones, employers, friends, and volunteer groups.

It’s ok to say no.

Our social circles, families, and employers all play a role in creating expectations. During the holidays, expectations often become distorted: your kids expect to receive the latest tech device, your spouse wants you to plan the company party, your in-laws plan to stay for a few more days than usual, and the church has asked you to volunteer extra time. The requests just keep coming. Meanwhile, you’re feeling a pile-up of obligations that leave you little time for the things you need to feel fulfilled and healthy. This is where personal boundaries are important, and remember: it’s ok to say no.

Here are a few tips about boundaries to help you maintain a happy and emotionally healthy holiday season.

  • Your time is valuable. Set limits on the amount of your talents and time you’re willing to give to others. For instance, you might let your church group know that you have yoga each week during the time that they’ve requested you to volunteer and it’s important that you maintain your practice. Therefore, you’ll need to pass on their request.
  • Set limits on the amount of emotion you give to a relationship. Family members can often trigger certain emotions in us that have the potential to take us down a dark path. Instead of feeding the flame, make a conscious decision to not become emotionally involved. Perhaps a sister in-law tries to pry into your family’s personal business at every family gathering. It’s ok to let her know that there are topics you do not wish to discuss and that you’d like for her to not ask you those questions in the future.
  • You’re not super-mom or super-dad. Children need to be taught boundaries. In fact, children who witness their parents practice healthy boundaries often maintain better limits in their own lives. It’s ok to sit down with your children and discuss the realistic expectations for the upcoming holidays. Emphasize what the season is really all about, and discuss everyone’s role in making it a happy and healthy holiday.

We hope you find these tips helpful in maintaining your emotional health this holiday season. For more information, please contact us at or by phone at (281) 778-9530