How boundaries can help bring joy to your festive season
Here we go – the most wonderful time of the year. The festive season is upon us, Christmas jumpers are out, trees are up, parties are underway, and shopping lists are getting longer. And there’s definitely a greater degree of hope – largely about being able to have a Christmas this year!
What will make this Christmas enjoyable for you?
I sense a couple of things going on beneath the surface and it’s worth calling them out.
- We’re approaching this Christmas period absolutely knackered after a gruelling couple of years.
- There’s some really divisive topics out there as a result of this damn virus and the measures to manage it.
And let’s not forget that for some workers, this is their busiest time of the year. With a particular shout-out to our health service and key workers.
As a result, I’m seeing people welcome the festive season, but with a bit of hidden trepidation. When you ask someone if they’re looking forward to Christmas, watch out for the qualifying statements that can follow.
“Are you looking forward to Christmas this year?”
- “Yes … as long as I don’t end up hosting all the gatherings”
- “Yes … but I think things will get heated about x, y or z”
- “Yes … although I wish I could just stay in my PJs and not have to go out”
Maybe the question we ask each other should be more along the lines of “What will make this festive season enjoyable for you?”
It CAN be a joyful time
If you’ve followed me for a while or read my book you’ll know I’m all about moments of joy. Expecting every minute of every day to be constant fuel for the utmost happy experience tends to steer us towards disappointment – whether that’s Christmas or any other day of the year. Yet, noticing those moments that bring us joy and soaking them up is absolutely doable.
AND we can stack the odds more in our favour if we have an idea of what will make our festive season enjoyable and put some boundaries in place to help protect that.
Note: If you’re a people-pleaser and / or conflict avoider I know this will be even harder for you – but also more important. I urge you to give this some attention.
Let’s talk Festive Boundaries
I know it sounds a bit dull – boundaries! Just think of them as your festive guide to help you have the most enjoyable Christmas for you. Here we go with 3 top tips.
#1 Know what’s going to bring you joy
Whether that’s plenty of quiet time on the sofa watching movies, an abundance of family gatherings, getting out and about daily, or a mixture of a whole host of things, the key is to know what’s joy-bringing for you and ensure there’s plenty of it. Whether that means planning things in or leaving the diary completely open, that’s all OK. Remember to communicate what this is, and discuss it with your nearest and dearest. If you all keep quiet you’ll likely all end up disappointed!
#2 Limit the ‘must do’s’ and ‘have to’s’
Yes, there might be some things that you feel obliged to do at this time of year and you don’t want to face saying no or offend anyone right now. But you can put limits in place. E.g. if it’s a social event, let them know that you’ll call in for a certain amount of time. And it’s going to make you miserable, remember that ‘no’ is well and truly in your vocabulary.
#3 Communicate, communicate, communicate
The more you’re open with others about how you’re feeling, what you want, and what you don’t want the better. And them with you too. Open up the conversations. If it’s all left unsaid then the misery and disappointment risk is much higher.
Also, I’d suggest not being the person that …
- Questions people’s choices because you really want them to do something different
- Bully’s people into doing something they clearly don’t want to because you think it will be good for them
- Outstays your welcome
If this season is tough
Let’s not forget that this time of year can be really tough for many people and if you need to explore finding support for you or a loved one, this link will take you to a page with lots of links and numbers.
I very much hope you have the festive season that YOU want, that you experience moments of joy frequently and feel nourished by the whole experience. Merry Christmas.
P.S. If you’re looking for gifts from my business then my book is within the £10 range and I’m also a partner with Moments Candles Co, and even have my own collection (although at this time of year I’d recommend the festive range – Enchanted Moments) – they are beautiful candles and scented products without any of the nasty ingredients you find in many of the big brands.