How to Have Self-Care and Boundaries During the Holiday SeasonWhen you’re a youngster, the Holiday season is magical and exciting. Halloween kicks it all off, and for the rest of the year it’s sweets, treats, gifts, and perhaps best of all: time off from school.

Holidays as an adult can be a shockingly different experience. While much of the magic, warmth and cheer is still present, so too are additional stressors… and let’s be real, there’s no time off. From hosting parties to traveling, gift giving and doing your best to make the holidays extra special – on top of all the other regular day to day obligations you deal with – it’s a lot.

Thankfully, with a little foresight, pre-planning, and boundaries, you can recapture some of the holiday magic and sparkle.

Here’s how:


Some years, the prospect of a busy holiday season seems doable. Other years, you’re tapped out before the holidays even begin.

If you have children, the holidays can be influenced by the number of kids you have, their ages, and schedules. There’s that, and whatever else is going on in your life.

Then there’s the relative rotation – we spent Thanksgiving with them last year, so this year we need to go hereit can get pretty overwhelming.

In spite of this, there are some things you can do to prepare. The goal is to capture all the things that have the potential to cause stress and come up with the antidote – a way to diffuse them – before they get blown out of proportion.

If you have a partner, it’s a good idea to involve them in the planning. Brew a mug (or pot!) of coffee, grab your calendar and a pen, and settle into a comfortable seat. You’re going to take a look at the next few months as a whole and start laying out your strategy.


Holidays can be emotional. Perhaps you lost a family member, or you have to deal with difficult inter family dynamics. It’s important to not lose yourself or get too caught up in it. Therapy is an excellent way to help you create boundaries with others, and process some of the complicated feelings. If you feel overly stressed or worried, or if the holiday season brings on feelings of sadness or anxiety, you may want to consider therapy.

Depending on your situation, there will be nuances to what you plan, but here are some major stressors that many face during the Holidays:

Your Budget

It’s a good idea to create a budget From gifts to travel expenses. It’s a good idea to create a budget so you know what’s ahead, and if things are tight, a budget allows you to prioritize and eliminates some of the potential stress that comes when you overspend.

Who You Spend Time with When

Map out which holiday you’re spending (or potentially spending if you haven’t decided yet) with whom, and on what day.

Viewing this all together in advance is helpful because you have a visual representation of how your months will look.

You’ll see when the busy times are, and when the little moments in between where you can recharge. Those moments are important! Block them off if you need to. Spend them in ways you enjoy – book a massage, or a long walk along the river; it’s beautiful this time of year.

The Holidays are a time where many people have a lot of expectations, and if you’re not clear with how you’ll be spending your time, it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of it all and end up pulled every which way.

When you view it all together, you’re treated to a much clearer picture of what the season looks like as a whole, and this helps lay the foundation for the boundaries you need to set, based on what your needs during the season are.

Meals and Party Prep

If you’re hosting, it’s a great idea to give yourself as much advance meal-prep time as possible.

It may also be a good idea to stock up on healthy meals, something to try and balance out the sugary excess that’s a notorious part of the Holiday Season.


Some holiday stress comes from feeling pressured to attend events, whether they’re annual family get-togethers or work and friend related parties.

Remember, it’s okay to say no.

It’s ok to miss a year.

If you and your family just want to be together, it’s ok to rent a cabin up in the woods for just you and the kids.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, therapy can helpOne of the best gifts we can give ourselves is the gift of listening to ourselves. If we need to rest or recharge, it’s ok to prioritize that.

Take the time to be intentional and plan from a holistic perspective.

This makes the holidays special for everyone: you’re not compromising or extending yourself beyond your means – be that physically, energetically, or financially – and your get to bask in the joy, the reason for the celebration, with friends and loved ones.

Again, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, therapy can help.

Therapy in Roseville, CA, Fair Oaks, CA, or Online in California:

If you are ready to change your life for the better, we can help. To begin therapy at our Sacramento area locations or online, follow these steps:

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