Clients tell me all the time, “I hate the holidays”. There are many stressors as people are attending family gatherings and trying to meet everyone’s expectations for the season. This week Imagine Hope wants to help you stay focused on making this holiday season less stressful.
Keep your emotional boundaries firm
Being with family can often trigger old wounds, cause you to fall back into past roles from growing up, and end up with hurt feelings or fights. Because of this it is key one to set emotional boundaries. This is when you protect yourself emotionally from a person who isn’t safe for you. This could be someone who is overly critical and judgmental, creates emotional tension, or someone who triggers emotional pain or stress.
When setting emotional boundaries, you are surrounding yourself with an invisible shield of protection from the unsafe person. This includes lowering your expectations. You should expect them to be how they have “always been” and do what they have “always done”. If you expect it, it won’t hurt as bad. You have predicted the pain- so it has less of an impact. Lowering your expectations for the unsafe person to be somehow different this time will also help your shield to be stronger. This is a process of grieving that relationships may never be what you want them to. If you set your hopes too high that they won’t do what they always have done, then you are sure to be disappointed. It is common to say to yourself “Of course they did ____. That is what they do” when you have good emotional boundaries.
Stay tuned this week as we cover more ways to decrease stress, including financial tips, ways to not take on too much, and how to beat the need to have everything be perfect! Enjoy- and Happy Holidays!
Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.