As the holiday season approaches, many of us eagerly anticipate the warmth, joy, and festivities that come with it. However, amidst the cheer and celebration, it's crucial to recognize the importance of setting boundaries. The holidays can bring a unique set of challenges, from family gatherings to social events, and establishing healthy boundaries is essential for maintaining our well-being.

Communicate Expectations:

Effective communication is key when it comes to setting boundaries during the holidays. If you need downtime or prefer smaller gatherings, communicate this respectfully. Open and honest conversations can prevent misunderstandings and create a supportive environment where everyone's needs are acknowledged.  

If your family struggles with accommodating your needs then plan an exit strategy from gatherings.  For example, have a code word or signal developed in advance that lets your partner know you need to leave.  If you go on your own, figure out a way to leave if you start to feel overwhelmed.  This could simply be going for a walk or taking a break to have some downtime before returning to the gathering.

Learn to Say No:

The holiday season often brings a flurry of invitations and requests, and it's easy to feel obligated to say yes to everything.  Learning to say no respectfully is a skill, especially when it comes to protecting your time and energy.  If this is hard for you, start practicing assertive communication skills. I

If you’re looking for permission not to attend events here it is. If going to an event is going to be detrimental to your feelings of safety and/or your mental health, DON’T GO! 

Plan Downtime:

Amidst the holiday hustle, it's important to schedule moments of downtime. Whether it's a quiet afternoon at home or a day off from the holiday frenzy, intentionally planning moments of relaxation allows you to recharge and fully appreciate the joy of the season.


Setting boundaries during the holidays is a gift you give to yourself and those around you. By prioritizing self-care, communicating effectively, and learning to say no, you can navigate the holiday season with a sense of balance and fulfillment. Embrace the power of boundaries, and make this season a time of joy, connection, and meaningful moments.

Catherine Sullivan

Catherine Sullivan


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