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Family Boundaries Over the Holidays

The holiday season is a time to celebrate and spend time with loved ones and family. Sometimes, this time of year can bring added stress and make dealing with people a lot more stressful.

If you’re planning to spend some time with your family this holiday season, it’s crucial to know how important setting boundaries with family can be, especially if there may be some tension.

Read on to learn more about how you can set personal boundaries with your friends and family members during the holidays so you can stay sane.

Pay Attention to Your Feelings

It can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but this can often come with a price. If you’re feeling overstretched, learn how to say “no” to some invitations so you can practice a little self-care.

There’s no harm in declining some invitations, especially if you start to feel overwhelmed. Put the focus on how you feel and if you start to feel stressed, it might be time to decompress and stay at home alone for a while.

Try to set aside a few minutes each day for meditation, yoga, or journaling. Even a short walk through the neighborhood can help you clear your mind and prepare for the days and weeks ahead. When you understand your own personal feelings, it’s much easier to prepare for setting boundaries with family later.

Family Boundaries Over the Holidays

Stay Calm When Setting Boundaries with Family

You might get frustrated when your great aunt decides to critique your weight, your career, or your relationships. Instead of lashing out in anger, do your best to remain calm when you get into uncomfortable situations.

Sometimes, even family members with the best intentions say or do things that can cause you harm. Try to explain to the person who offended you that you’d appreciate it if they didn’t speak to you in that manner. Do it in a calm, collected voice and avoid raising your voice or saying hurtful things in response.

The calmer you are when you set these boundaries, the better the outcome will be. If you don’t think you can handle being calm in response, simply excuse yourself and walk outside for some fresh air or go to the restroom for a moment.

The key to avoiding uncomfortable conversations is to redirect the subject or take control. Try to change the topic to something else, or tell the person that you’d rather not talk about the things that they want to address, especially at the holiday dinner table.

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Avoid Alcohol Whenever Possible

Consuming too much alcohol is a common occurrence during the holiday season. Sometimes, this can lead to all kinds of problems from fights to embarrassing moments you’ll want to forget.

If you can, try not to drink around family members during the holiday season. This is a surefire way to avoid any catastrophes related to getting drunk or saying something you might regret.

As for your other family members, if you’re the host or hostess, let everyone know there will not be any alcohol served in your home. If you feel obligated to offer a few drinks, put a limit on how many each person is allowed to consume.

If there’s no alcohol in your home to start with, there will be no worries about any issues related to drinking. Tell your family that you’d prefer not to drink or to serve alcohol at your holiday events. If they love you, they’ll understand and respect your decision.

Family Boundaries Over the Holidays

Don’t Be Afraid to Stay Home

The holidays can be a sensory overload for many people, and too many people or too frequent events can make this time of year stressful. You can easily set boundaries with your family members by telling them you won’t be attending their party.

It’s OK to stay home if you don’t feel like going out or dealing with other people. Remember, the only person you have an obligation to you is yourself. Your family should understand if it’s just not the right time to visit.

Of course, you should at least try to make an appearance if you have older family members or there are people visiting from a long distance. But that doesn’t mean you have to come to each and every single get-together that’s hosted by your family this season.

Sometimes, a night at home in your favorite pajamas with a cup of hot chocolate while watching Netflix is just the thing you need to feel refreshed. Maybe the next night, you’ll feel ready to socialize again after you’ve had some time to reset. 

It’s important to make sure that your family members know you’re not avoiding them during the holidays. Simply explain that you have a lot happening in your life and that you could use a night or two of alone time and relaxation.

Boundaries are Healthy for Everyone

Once you understand that setting boundaries with family is a crucial part of holiday survival, you can start to put some of these tips into practice. Make sure your family knows you love them, but that you also need to take care of yourself during this stressful time of year.

If someone in your family says something that upsets you, do your best to stay calm and cool. Don’t be afraid to say no to invitations or stay home, and refuse to serve or drink alcohol if it makes you uncomfortable.

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