How to survive Christmas and set firm personal boundaries

How to survive Christmas and set firm personal boundaries

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We wish for happy and cheerful ones, but for many of us they are rather stressful and anxious. We are expected to arrive at countless Christmas parties, often have to face inappropriate questions from relatives and explain for the hundredth time that we really won’t be having another eggnog or candy. How do we stand up to all this Christmas pressure and politely refuse offers we don’t want? We will advise you how to set personal boundaries and survive Christmas in peace and quiet.

What is important to you during Christmas?

There are so many traditions, rules and expectations associated with Christmas that it’s easy to forget how we actually want to experience it ourselves. We go on autopilot according to the way things are – they are traditions, after all.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s write down what’s really important to you at Christmas. Write in one column what makes you happy and in the other what causes you stress. This will help you to clarify your priorities and reduce what doesn’t make you feel good.

If nothing much comes to your mind right now, try keeping a journal of your emotions. When thoughts of anything Christmas-related come to you, keep track of how you feel about it and write it down. You can give individual points a grade like you would at school. You will soon get an idea of what makes you happy and what to say NO to.


Everything really doesn’t have to be perfect

Sometimes we spoil the Christmas experience a little bit ourselves. We try to make everything perfect, until we run out of breath in the pursuit of perfection and the whole Christmas spirit is gone.

So let’s set realistic goals this year. For example, you can limit the number of types of candy, buy Christmas bread in the bakery, do not overdo it with cleaning and decoration, skip some parties. Accept that some things may not go as planned, and that’s okay. What matters most is your peace of mind and a relaxed atmosphere. Even if your mother-in-law might be looking at you through her fingers.

How to set personal boundaries and say NO

Once you know what causes you stress around Christmas, you need to set personal boundaries so you can say NO when you need to. Or to resist inappropriate comments and not engage in conversations you are uncomfortable with.

We will look at specific situations and how to respond to them.

How to refuse an invitation to a party

Invitations can be hard to reject. We are worried that we will miss something important, hurt someone by our refusal, or not be invited next time. Do you feel the same way? Then the article From FOMO to JOMO: How to stop worrying about missing out will definitely help you.

Here are specific tips on how you can politely refuse an invitation:

  • „I really appreciate your invitation, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to come. I really need to slow down and rest this year. I hope you have a wonderful party and thanks for your understanding.”
  • „Thank you so much for thinking of me. I’d love to come, but I have other commitments, so I can’t make it this time. I will look forward to seeing you again next time.”


How to excuse yourself from a family reunion and leave early

Family events are sometimes unavoidable. But if they are stressful for you, think ahead of how much time you will spend on them. Before they upset you, excuse yourself from them.

You can say things like:

  • „I’m so glad I could be with you, but now I need to go. Thank you for the wonderful time.”
  • „I had a great time with you, but I have commitments tomorrow, so I’m afraid I have to go.”

It can be difficult with family and they won’t let you leave quietly without a specific reason. So possibly excuse yourself with a headache or maybe having to get up early in the morning.

How to respond to inappropriate comments about your life

Why are you still single, why don’t you have kids yet, when will you find a proper job… If you are not comfortable with that, you don’t have to answer any such questions and comments.

Try saying, for example:

  • „I understand your concern, but I’d rather keep this to myself. Rather tell me…?”
  • „I’m sorry, but this is a sensitive topic for me and I’d rather not bring it up right now.”
  • „Thank you for your concern, but I know myself and what is good for me, and this way I am satisfied.”

How to reject alcohol

The fact that alcohol is intertwined with the holidays doesn’t mean you really have to drink it.

How to refuse drinking alcohol:

  • „Thank you, but I need a break from alcohol for now.”
  • „Thank you, but I have to get up very early tomorrow, so I mustn’t overdo it. Do you have any soft drinks?”
  • „Thank you, but alcohol hasn’t been doing me any good lately, so I stopped drinking it.”

If the host is usually being insistent, you can arrive at the party by car. You’ll have the perfect reason why you really can’t drink any drop of alcohol.


Setting personal boundaries is a challenge

Saying NO can be scary at first. We’re afraid of hurting someone, being judged, or not being liked. We feel like we have to please people. So sometimes we have no idea where our personal boundaries should actually be so we don’t go against ourselves.

Do you feel the same way? Personal boundaries are a great topic for (psycho)therapy. A therapist can help you navigate your own emotions and find out what beliefs are keeping you from putting yourself first. Therapist will teach you how to work with them so that you can stand firmly behind your boundaries.

In Hedepy you can connect with more than 150 psychotherapists from all over the country and have your appointment in just a few days.

Take the 5-minute test and based on the result, we will recommend the three most suitable therapists for you.

Don’t face it alone

Finally, we would like to tell you the last and most important thing. It is completely natural to experience a wave of emotions in a difficult situation. Every crisis has its beginning, but it also has its end. Yours too. Therefore, if you are at least considering it even a tiny bit, ask for the help of a psychologist, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, or coach. Don’t face it alone; you can find help – At, there are more than 30 therapists. You can choose someone who is best suited to your needs, and make an appointment for the next day. You can then connect with the therapist online, from the comfort of your own home.

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