Personal Boundaries and Holiday Stress
[The following situation is real. Certain details have been changed to protect clients' anonymity.]
The holidays were especially trying times for Rebecca, a mother of two teens. Consequently she tended to procrastinate with holiday preparations as long as possible. She felt the holiday season "should" be enjoyed, however, scheduling the holiday family photo shoot, decorating the house, sending greeting cards, purchasing and wrapping gifts felt overwhelming.
Consequently, in following up on this belief, Rebecca felt obligated to do it all perfectly in order to assure a good time for her immediate family and relatives. Holiday stress increased with relatives' criticisms and demands.
Rebecca's Coaching Insights:
- "I have choices and don't need to do everything myself. I need to delegate more!"
- "I don't need to let relatives influence me so much. I can't live my life trying to please others."
- "I feel attacked when relatives ask, why I did this or that. Too often I give my power away by explaining my choices."
Rebecca was able to begin holiday preparations earlier and to relieve related stress. She insisted that her children help out with holiday preparations. She began to stand up for herself by weeding out the individuals on her holiday list to whom she felt obligated to send a gift.
By acknowledging relatives' concerns, Rebecca defused their criticisms without having to justify her choices. The holidays began to be fun for the first time in years. She continued to work on firming up her personal boundaries by being clear about what was unacceptable behavior to her. Just as important, she realized nothing about her holiday had to be "perfect".