The holidays bring a mixture of emotions and memories, some positive and some difficult. This season may create more tension if family members have different political perspectives or varying social ideals influenced by the news and social media. In order to navigate this season, consider practicing these tips that will help you set boundaries and also create personal space when needed.
- Choose to speak up or to silently disagree. Never forget that each individual is allowed to have feelings and to express him or herself. On the other hand, it is also okay to silently disagree and still keeping true to your values and own perspective. YOU are not obligated to take on the beliefs of other people.
- If others make unsolicited comments about your food choices or appearances, it is more than okay to ask them to refrain from making such comments. For example, “I prefer not to talk about the size of my body or what I’m eating to others today.” Turn the focus back on them by asking, “how have you been lately?” If family members continue to push, walk away and leave the group. Remember, it is your body and your plate.
- Release your perceived need for approval from others; it is okay to have different opinions and your experiences and opinions are valid because they are your feelings and experiences. Other people do not need to confirm your path or choice. YOU do you, and let others do them. Likewise, just because someone else is dieting does not mean that you need to diet or restrict.
- Create personal space during extended holiday visits; take a walk, take a shower, take a nap, write in your journal, run an errand, etc. It is okay to have needs, and hopefully others can respect that need.
- Remember what the holidays are about and don’t be afraid to use your voice or speak up when needed.