Tips for Setting Boundaries During the Holidays

By Stephanie Camins – MA, LPC

verified by Psychology Today

The holiday season can be stressful and overwhelming.  Emotions you manage all year long often get amped up during the holidays.  The hustle and bustle strains our schedules, finances and waist band.  If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, tired, stressed, sad or angry, chances are your boundaries have been pushed to far.

We have both physical and emotional boundaries that protect our thoughts, behaviors and emotions. Deciding on what your boundaries are going to be ahead of time will help ensure that you are respecting your own limits.   Planning ahead will help you stick to your guns and make healthy choices about your time, energy, spending and diet.

Holiday events bring together friends, family, coworkers and other acquaintances.  Difficult relationship dynamics  can easily detract from the happiness this season can bring. Setting boundaries will help protect your time, energy and happiness. Be clear on what you need to have a happy, healthy holiday season and communicate your plans in advance.  Letting other people know that you care about them and you are taking care of your are health and wellness will help in you set boundaries with the compassion and empathy.

Tips for Setting Boundaries

  • Its Ok to Say No
  • Set reasonable expectations
  • Take care of yourself
  • Honor your feelings
  • Avoid negative self-talk
  • Slow down
  • Make self-care a priority
  • Stick to your schedule when accepting invitations
  • Make a list of your priorities and stick to them
  • Set limits
    • Be clear
    • Be calm
    • Be concise
    • Be direct
    • Be simple
    • Be factual
  • Use empathy
  • Be proactive
  • Pay attention to your internal cues
  • Plan ahead
  • Make a list
  • Maintain a positive perspective

I recommend the following books if you’re interested in learning more about setting boundaries

  1. Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition:  When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud
  2. Empath:  Highly Sensitive person’s Handbook for Mastering Your Gift, Setting Your Boundaries and Thriving
  3. Boundaries for Your Soul:  How to Turn Your Overwhelming Thoughts and Feelings into Your Greatest Allies by Allison Cook


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