6 Boundaries and Grounding Tools to Get Through the Holidays

The holidays can be a wonderful time of fun, connection, and joy. However, they also can be triggering as well. As Christmas approaches, our struggles can feel increasingly overwhelming. Out of nowhere, we can be thrown into triggering relationships and emotional struggles. There are ways of managing these things though.

Here is a list of ways to make it through them relatively unscathed.

  1. Say “no”. We associate the holidays with expectations. It can be difficult to draw lines when there are expectations from others. Especially others we care about and want their approval. At the same time, we have times where we need to say “no.” This can mean staying out of specific dinners and events. Sure, some may be disappointed, but it’s important to take care of yourself.
  2. Give yourself time and space. Is there a family dog? Take him for a walk! If there is no dog, let your partner know that you’re going to take some time for yourself. You might run to the convenience store, go for a walk, etc. Just remember, that it’s fine to give yourself some reprieve.
  3. Orient to what you enjoy the most. Some people really enjoy the holidays for the children. Others really enjoy the food. Pay attention to what you enjoy the most. This can help you stay grounded to the most pleasurable aspects the holiday. This can help you feel better, and improve your emotions when you start to struggle.
  4. Stay with the present. Our families can pull us into our own pasts. Pay attention to your adult self. I often suggest that people remind themselves of some affirming things about themselves as an adult. This can offer empowerment to make it through.
  5. Spend time connecting with your closest relative. We all have relatives who we connect with. Discussion seems to flow easier with this person. These people can help us enjoy and stay grounded during this time of year.
  6. Stay away from hot topics. Sometimes you may have an urge to discuss a tough topic. Other times your family members may want to talk about these things. It is important to learn how to talk about difficult issues. In particular, this isn’t the time to talk about politics and religion. Stay mindfully away from these topics if they will be too much to handle. Be aware of how much you can handle, and draw these lines.

This time of year can come with many challenges. If you remind yourself to stay grounded, you can make it through them with few problems.


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