The Holidays are approaching as fast as a child opening a present from Santa. But just because the Season is approaching us quickly, doesn’t mean that your decision making needs to follow the same pace. One of the worst decisions we can make over the Holiday Season is to blur the boundaries that took us all year long to set.Sometimes, the Holiday Cheer makes us all warm and fuzzy inside. And, soon after the “Cheer” and Egg Nog seeps into our veins we realize that Aunt Mary, Negative Nancy and our Ex-Boyfriend were not as bad as we made them out to be. We worked all year to set boundaries, take a step back, and say “No” to their endless commands, but now, the Holiday Cheer has somehow changed our perceptions about them.Reality check, the reason that these people don’t seem so bad anymore is because you used your hard earned energy to set boundaries with them for the past 10 months. Life is better when you set boundaries with the takers or the people who suck you dry.By setting boundaries with people who are toxic for you, you have freed up time. This extra time and energy allows you to give more to your priorities and passions, like your spouse, children, work, leisure activities, and, oh yeah, you, too.Below are some common choices we make over the Holiday Season to blur boundaries:1. Throw Unnecessary PartiesThrowing parties just because you’re “supposed to” wastes time, money and can quickly turn you into the family “doormat.” With the limited time you already have, you may find yourself pulled in all directions as you become stressed out planning, shopping and cooking.
The FixThrowing a party always sounds fun in the beginning. But slow your Holiday Pace down and really take the time to review what will go into throwing this event. This year, go to Holiday Parties. You don’t have to host a party. You don’t have to plan. You don’t have to shop or cook. Plus, you can leave whenever you want and there is no clean up. Keep your priorities straight and your boundaries in line.Guilt Alert: If you really feel guilty about not hosting a party or cooking, go to an event and bring something. And remember, it doesn’t have to be home cooked. Pick up a nice dish from your local supermarket.2. Throwing A Holiday Party and Inviting the Wrong PeopleSo, maybe you have decided that you want to throw a Holiday Party this year. You have the time and the money, and you are excited about the process. Your excitement may quickly spiral if you invite the wrong people. Inviting toxic people like the Ex-Boyfriend, Negative Nancy and Aunt Mary might end up dropping your mood, sucking your energy reservoir dry, and may skew boundaries that last for days or months beyond the party.The FixIf you are throwing a party, hold the invite! This is YOUR party. And, sure you can cry if you want to, but why cry? This is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Instead of dreading this Holiday Season, make it a truly Cheerful one. If you have set boundaries with certain people and think that inviting them to your party would skew those boundaries, don’t invite them. These people use you or treat you like a doormat 10 months per year, step away from feeling guilty about not inviting them to one party.Guilt Alert: If you feel really bad for not inviting a certain someone, send them a Holiday Card or even leave them a small present on their desk.3. Going Overboard with GiftsSociety has a great way of pressuring us to make the Holidays bigger and bigger each year. Society is also great at making us feel guilty if we don’t conform to this gift giving craze. Everyone is throwing out the words “the season of giving” but sometimes this feels like the season of everyone “taking.”The FixThere is nothing “Cheerful” about starting out 2015 in debt all because you bought gifts for long lost Uncles and the boss you can’t stand. This year, list out your priorities in life. Then, note the people that come up on that list. These are the people that deserve something special from you. And, if you can’t afford to get these people a gift, take your time to create something for them. Check out online sites to help you get some inspiration for fun and practical holiday gifts you can make. Last, this Holiday Season, realize that you don’t have to participate in all the Secret Santas.Guilt Alert: If you really feel the need to give this season but don’t want to give to people who are undeserving, create a list of charities or Universities that you would like to give to, and donate your time or money to them. Also, take a moment to reflect back on the year and who really helped you, encouraged you or mentored you. Send over some Cheer to these people. These are the people you want in your life today, and in 2015.
4. Stop ExercisingWe often find ourselves with a ton of excuses to stop working out during the Holidays. Have you ever said “it’s too cold out,” “I’m too busy shopping, planning or cooking,” “I ‘ll get back in the routine in January” or “I won’t eat seconds at Thanksgiving?” Whatever the reasons is, we find an opportunity to not go exercise.The FixDon’t stop exercising. Now, more than anytime during the year, your body needs you. Chances are, your eating is about to change. Your body isn’t going to be used to the extra sugars, carbs and fat. Plus, there is added stress for a variety of reasons. Your body needs a release. This Holiday Season don’t forget about you and your body in the midst of providing for others. If it’s too cold outside, exercise in your home (you can download an app on your phone or pop in a DVD) or, just get gym. Find a way to make exercise happen. Exercise will help release your stress, keep you fit, and boost your mood.Guilt Alert: If you feel guilty exercising because you “have” so many other things to do, acknowledge the reality that staying healthy and positive makes the people who you spend most of your time with, and who you care most about, happier and more fulfilled.
Dr. Jaime Kulaga is a Certified Life Coach, Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Motivational Speaker. She is the author of the upcoming book “The SuperWoman’s Guide to Super Fulfillment: Step-by-Step Strategies to Create Work-Life Balance,” to be published in March 2015. She is the inspirational founder of the nationally known SuperWoman Workshops. Dr. Kulaga has been featured internationally for her expertise in Work-Life Balance. web: mindfulrehab .com