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Ask a Therapist: My family drives me nuts around the holidays. What could I do?

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I feel you, sometimes the holidays can be a stressful time for many. It’s important to set healthy boundaries and realistic expectations with your family so that you don’t feel overwhelmed and you can enjoy the holiday season.

The first step is to understand your limits. Start by tuning into your feelings and observing when you feel uncomfortable, stressed or anxious – this will help you identify what’s acceptable for you to manage. You might also notice the feeling of resentment, which may tell you that you’re feeling unappreciated or as if you’re being taken advantage of. Learning to say no is also key. Saying no is a very important aspect of setting boundaries. In order to say no more often, you’ll need to challenge your beliefs about what it means to say it and then practice saying it. Many who have trouble saying no believe that saying no is unhelpful, rude, mean, selfish, being difficult, being unreasonable or not an option at all. But none of these are true, saying no and setting boundaries is taking responsibility for your life and how you choose to live it.

Despite the opinions of others, we can find feelings of gratitude by focusing on all the positive aspects of your life and remembering what you can and can’t control.

MindBeacon is here to help with a variety of supports available in our Virtual Mental Health Therapy Clinic to help you set boundaries, manage family challenges and your mental well-being. If you are part of our Workplace Mental Health Program, please visit your company page for access to services covered by your program.

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Stronger Minds content is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to establish a standard of care with a reader, you should always seek the advice of your mental health professional, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. If you think you may have a medical or mental health emergency, call your doctor, go to the nearest hospital emergency department, or call emergency services immediately. You should never disregard or delay seeking medical advice relating to treatment or standard of care because of information contained herein. Medical information changes constantly. Therefore the information herein should not be considered current, complete or exhaustive, nor should you rely on such information to recommend a course of treatment for you or any other individual. Reliance on any information provided herein is solely at your own risk.