The winter season brings all of the holidays we love and enjoy with our friends and family. It’s a great time to spend with those we love to celebrate and reflect upon the past year with one another. However, while it’s a time that brings joy, the holidays also bring about a number of negative feelings for some. Especially, if you have to spend lots of time in the close vicinity of your friends and family. And, for people who struggle with the various mental health symptoms that mental health issues provide. This is why it’s important to set healthy boundaries for yourself and for those around you during the holidays so that you protect your mental health recovery. And, don’t let the craziness of the season keep you from experiencing the joy that it can bring.
Seeing friends and family you may not necessarily spend that much time with during the rest of the year during the holidays can be draining. While you may love spending time with your loved ones, it can certainly take a toll on your mental state. Forcing a smile, participating in small talk, and answering questions about your personal life can take some of the ‘spirit’ out of the season. And, while it may be a necessary part of the holidays, it doesn’t have to be something you can’t set limitations on. If you know that you’re tired and need to relax and spend some time alone, setting some boundaries can allow you to do so. This way, you aren’t overwhelmed with spending so much time with friends or family that may affect your holidays negatively.
Along with setting boundaries for time spent with loved ones, boundaries are also helpful during the holidays when it comes to conversations, opinions, and behaviors. Allowing yourself to be around things that bother you or may trigger negative decision-making for yourself is something that can hurt your mental health state. So, it’s not selfish to set some boundaries – it’s essential.
Overall, boundaries are things you will and will not accept. This can include a number of things that may be triggering negative emotions or behaviors in yourself. You can set boundaries on others in order to protect your own peace, mental state, and even your physical health. However, many find it challenging to set boundaries in relationships as they care what others think of them, don’t want themselves to come across selfishly, or bring discomfort to others. But, what’s important to know is that regardless of what others may think or feel about your boundaries, they are all about protecting yourself and your personal needs. There is nothing selfish about protecting your own health and the joy you deserve to feel and experience during the holidays.
Being able to set certain limits that safeguard your own health is freeing. But, it can be challenging to do so with confidence, which is important if you want others to take your boundaries seriously. First, you need to determine what your boundaries are (setting certain time limitations, saying that you will not be around others who are drinking, won’t partake in certain conversations, etc.) and explain the consequences of these actions (for example, you will leave if others don’t respect your boundaries). Once you determine your boundaries, you can clearly and confidently tell your family and friends who you will be spending time with during the holidays about these boundaries.
Those who love you, who are those you are most likely for you to be spending time with during the holiday season, will always respect your boundaries. If they don’t, don’t feel bad about committing to your boundary-crossing consequences in order to protect your own health and safety.
Mental health support is available for people who are struggling during the holidays. If you or a loved one needs help, Yellowbrick is here for you. Find out more about our outpatient services and how we can support you on our website.
Yellowbrick collaborates with adolescents and emerging adults, ages 16-30's, their families and participating professionals toward the development and implementation of a strategic “Life Plan.” An integrative, multi-specialty consultation clarifies strengths, limitations, and risks, and defines motivations, goals and choices.
A mental health condition that’s characterized by intense shifts in mood including both manic and depressive episodes.
People living with Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, experience episodes of depression and sadness that are debilitating to daily life.
Those living with anxiety disorders experience high levels of anxiety and stress that interfere negatively with daily life.
A mental health issue in which a person’s cognitive function is impaired, resulting in symptoms like experiencing challenges with conducting speech, reading and writing, and behavior.
Mental health disorders that negatively affect a person’s behaviors, thought patterns, and function. People diagnosed with these disorders experience challenges with managing relationships and understanding various situations.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that people can develop as a result of experiencing traumatic situations, characterized by symptoms including flashbacks, avoidance behaviors, and more.
A mental health condition that is characterized by specific symptoms of forgetfulness and lack of concentration, which makes it challenging to complete necessary tasks.
Mental health conditions that interfere with a person’s eating habits, thought patterns, and behaviors in negative ways.
A mental health disorder diagnosable with the DSM-5 that is characterized by both obsessions and compulsive behaviors.