Mental Health
25 Tips For Asserting Family Boundaries During The Holidays

25 Tips For Asserting Family Boundaries During The Holidays

5 min read


Guest Author

The holiday season is upon us, and for many that brings up...a lot.

We want to support you over the next couple of weeks, so we're making a series of holiday survival guides. As a therapy matchmaking company, we know the importance of developing a game plan when you start to feel a little wobbly. A therapist can help you fill up your tool kit with everything you need to feel supported. If you’re interested in starting your therapy journey, head over to our personalized questionnaire to find your perfect match! We all lose our footing sometimes, and we all deserve a hand to pull us back up.

We reached out to our community on Instagram and gathered your tips for keeping boundaries with family during the holiday season:

1. Prioritizing myself. Finding time to go on a solo walk, hot sweaty sweaty yoga, reading by the fire.

2. Holiday Mantras: "I am not responsible for other's happiness" and "I can let small things go."

3. Take a breath, and remind the people around you to take one too.

4. An old therapist taught me: "Detach with love." Works like a charm!

5. Get what I want on one day, but be willing to compromise on another. But always get what I NEED.

5. You cannot control someone's behavior or perception, only how you react.

6. Protect yourself.

7. Get a hotel or Airbnb!

8. If trigger topics come up, create a code word.

9. Remember to respond, not react.

10. Take a nap.

11.  When things get tense, go to the bathroom and wash your hands. Always calms me down.

12. If there is an argument over the group plan, ask everyone what their "ideal holiday" looks like. From there, see if there can be a compromise so that each person gets to do one thing on their list.

13. Verbally saying "I'm going to take a pause now," and stepping out of the room.

14. Remember that you can always change the subject.

15. It is okay to say "I don't really want to talk about this, could we talk about something else?"

16. Think of a list of conversation starters that feel comfortable for you to talk about that don't hit any trigger topics. Like: "what are you most looking forward to this week?" Or "What's your favorite TV show right now?"

17. You're allowed to say "ouch." If someone says something hurtful, it is perfectly okay to tell them they have hurt your feelings.

18. Have a group chat on deck. Fill it with people who love and respect you and can hear your complaints/triggers in real time - either as listening ears, great advice-givers, or excellent meme-senders.

19. Remind yourself you have a full, whole, independent life outside of these (often forced) holiday get-togethers.

20. Treat yourself! Buy yourself something nice, make your favorite snack, or plan a get together with a friend to look forward to in the future.

21. Watch a movie together instead of talking about politics.

22. Every time you want to ask your family to respect your boundaries, check-in with yourself too. If they are not giving you what you need, is there something you can give yourself? Or is there someone in your life who can empathize or validate your experience?

23. Everything always seems better after a good meal. Hanger never led to good boundary keeping :)

24. You can love your family and also think they suck sometimes! Those two things can exist at the same time. Well damn, look at you. You multi-tasking boundary genius. I’m proud of you!

25. Stay home and make a new tradition with your chosen family. Sometimes it is easier to love our families from afar.

We hope this guide was helpful, and that you can keep some of these tips in your back pocket as we dive further into the holiday season! Check back in with us in the next few weeks, where we’ll have our MyWellbeing therapists respond to your questions about boundaries and how to employ them. Remember: this list is a supplemental tool guide to help support yourself, but know you don’t have to do it all alone! If therapy is something you’ve been thinking about, and you’re in NYC, check out our matchmaking process and let us help you find your perfect therapy match!

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