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It is important to set boundaries in the holiday season for stress reduction.

Don’t want to make homemade apple pie? Frozen is better than homemade. Can’t afford the employee gift exchange? You can politely decline to participate. Not willing to spend the night at a relative’s house? Instead, book a hotel room.

It can be difficult to manage holiday shopping, baking, and all the other activities that are on our list. Additionally, holiday parties often provide a venue for intrusive, personal questions and invasive comments regarding your appearance. Are you having a heart attack just reading these words? Because same.)

It’s no wonder a study done by the National Alliance of Mental Health found that 64% of people with mental illness report holidays make their conditions worse. Sesame, a telehealth service provider, found that 2021 was the best year to study this. 3 in 5 Americans feel their mental health is negatively impacted by the holidays60% reported an increase of anxiety while 52% saw an increase, and 52% said they felt more depressed than usual.

How can we make this season less stressful and more joyful? Set boundaries.

“Setting boundaries during the holiday season, especially with family members and other people who are close to you, is a radical act of self-care to be celebrated,” said Sarah KaufmanAt, the therapist Cobb PsychotherapyBrooklyn Heights. “It’s a way to honor your values, financial situation, and mental health. It’s not only a nice thing to do for yourself, but in some cases, it is essential for your overall well-being.”

Rachel HoffmanA licensed clinical social worker, and chief therapy officerAt Real, said boundaries are especially important this year, “as we’re living through an ongoing pandemic, witnessing a tremendous amount of destruction, and experiencing collective grief.”

Think of it this way: Your mental health can’t afford Not To have boundaries. HuffPost spoke to therapists about their best tips for setting and keeping boundaries in the holiday season. Here’s what to do:

1. Before you start, decide what your limits are.

First decide where your limits are. Ernesto Lira de la RosaYou can find out more at http://www.amazon.com/?p=238.Psychologist and media advisor Hope for Depression Research Foundation,We suggest asking ourselves:

  • Was ist das? What are some things I should do this holiday season?
  • What do you want me to feel when the holidays have ended?
  • Are there times when I just need to be me?
  • How can I feel joyful during this holiday season?
  • Are I guilty of saying “yes” to too many things?

“This is a process, and it may take us some time to determine what boundaries we want to set with ourselves and with our loved ones,” Lira de la Rosa said.

2. Don’t feel obligated to travel.

If you don’t want to travel right now, that’s OK.

“Holiday travel this year is complicated,” Kaufman said. “Perhaps you don’t feel comfortable traveling to see family because it feels uncertain or unsafe. This is an opportunity to set a boundary.”

She suggests telling family members, “I don’t feel safe enough to travel. I wish I could see you, and I’m sad that I can’t.”

3. Say “yes” only to the events you truly want to attend.

“If we recognize that we tend to overfill our schedule with holiday parties (usually out of the desire to please others), and then feel emotionally exhausted, then maybe the thing we are needing is self-preservation,” said Kaitlin Soule, a licensed marriage and family therapist and author of “A Little Less of a Hot Mess.

“This might look like committing to saying ‘yes’ to just your top two or three holiday-related events and building in more time to cozy up at home with a good book or a loved one,” she added.

4. Before you start, make sure to know your COVID requirements.

Anisha Patel-Dunn A psychiatrist, chief medical officer and practicing physician. LifeStance Health,It was also suggested that COVID-19 limits be established, particularly for those who have not been vaccinated.

If you don’t want to expand your circle this year, try saying something like “to keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible this season, I’m comfortable hosting our immediate family at home, and will plan to celebrate with friends and neighbors that we typically see this time of the year in different ways.”

Patel-Dunn suggested that the focus of discussion should be on you and your concerns. For example, you could say, “I would feel uncomfortable hosting you and putting you at risk knowing that you’re unvaccinated,” or “out of respect for everyone attending this year, here are the guidelines ― let me know if you need me to send a list of places to get PCR tested.”

5. Set a budget for gifts that won’t cause you anxiety.

“It is common for people to feel particularly stressed about monetary issues around the holiday time,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman suggests that you communicate ahead of time, in any way that feels most comfortable for you. “That might look like texting your friends that you would prefer to set a $20 cap for the gift exchange or simply opting out of that part of the party this year,” Hoffman explained.

You don't have to put up with people disrespecting you.
Getty Images: Urbazon
People shouldn’t be disrespectful of you.

6. Avoid provoking conversations.

“Some find it very difficult to engage in conversations with those with extreme opposing opinions on matters such as politics, religion, culture or current events,” said Lori RylandYou can find out more at http://www.amazon.com/?p=238. Clinical psychologist, chief clinical officer Pinnacle Treatment Centers. “Remember that those with strong opinions are very rarely convinced of an opposing view. If your goal is to get through to him/her and align them with your views, it is unlikely to happen.”

Avoid those triggering situations if you can ― sometimes that means not going if you know someone will be there who disrespects you. If not, Ryland recommended saying, “We will just have to agree to disagree” or “I am here to enjoy family and the holiday, not debate.”

And, if someone is commenting on your weight, body or eating habits, you don’t have to listen. “If you are on the receiving end of comments like these — which are rooted in the false belief that we are only good when our bodies are a different shape, size, or weight — set the boundary that makes you feel most safe,” Kaufman said. “Perhaps you assertively say, ‘I feel uncomfortable and hurt when I hear your words.’ Or maybe you leave the room.”

7. Party hosts can set time limits.

“Time is limited and precious during the holiday season,” said Laura Bokar, A licensed family and marriage therapist. Chief Executive Officer At Fox Valley Institute and author of “We Need to Talk – 24 Simple Insights for Relationships.” “Planning will be very important. Set a schedule and let family and friends know ahead of time when and how much time you will be able to spend with them.”

She added that if some are disappointed, remember it’s not your responsibility to take care of those feelings.

8. You must set consequences.

Boundaries without a consequence are just a suggestion,” said Divya RobinYou can find out more at http://www.amazon.com/?p=238. New York City Psychotherapist

“Let people know if a boundary of yours is crossed what will happen — whether that means you will leave the room for a few minutes, get some fresh air, or entirely leave — as this lets people know you are serious about your boundaries,” Robin explained.

9. Take care of yourself during this holiday season.

Amira Johnson, a therapist Berman PsychotherapyAtlanta suggests that holiday self-care is maintained. You can bring your journal along with you when traveling, or set aside time to meditate every day.

“Keeping yourself grounded and still feeling connected with yourself will keep you from feeling overwhelmed and out of alignment,” she said.

10. Your overall health is important.

Ronit Levy,director Bucks County Anxiety CenterNewton, Pennsylvania’s Newton said they would also emphasize nutrition and sleeping well this holiday season. “When your body feels depleted, you’re more likely to be cranky and make decisions that don’t protect your health,” Levy said. “It’s also harder to think clearly and stay calm.”

Levy also recommended taking breaks throughout the day, as “overwhelming your brain and body makes it harder to stick to your boundaries, manage tough feelings, and handle stressful situations.”

“Focus on what matters to you and what you want to get out of the holidays,” Levy added. “Remember that the holidays aren’t about pleasing everyone. You should be focusing on what is important to you and the people you love. This will help decrease how much you have on your plate and the resentment that comes from being overwhelmed.”

Although it may be difficult to set boundaries, they are a great way to make your holiday more fun. Don’t be afraid to give them a try.

Source: HuffPost.com.

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