Our Survival Guide For Family Get-Togethers Posted on December 05, 2016 by , 0 comments

How to discover, maintain, and defend your boundaries at your next family event

It happens to the best of us. We make plans to spend time with friends and family (because we genuinely like them!) and then somewhere in the chaos of the food, events, and catching up, we hit a wall and feel drained--maybe we even feel a little regret for getting ourselves into this situation again. So what can we do to continue to have family and friends in our lives but not compromise our boundaries and lose ourselves in the turmoil?

First of all, know yourself

If you have experienced the drain of crossed boundaries and just too much of good thing with friends and family, figure out what your triggers are before you find yourself in the middle of it. Sit down and reflect on what happened in the past to make you have less than a great time at your last family event. Was it too much food? Or yielding to someone else’s agenda instead of your own? Did you drink too much alcohol? Or maybe planned too many events in a row?

If your triggers seem to be a mystery to you, talk to you spouse or another friend or loved one. They might have some insight into what makes you go from gracious host to grouchy recluse in the presence of family and friends. And, if the mystery remains, check in with a mental health counselor. Sometimes an outside opinion can be worth gold when it comes to discovering and maintaining your boundaries.

Practice, practice, practice

Once you know what sets you off at family events, practice (in your head) how you will set and maintain your boundaries. Rehearse your one-liners in front of the mirror if you have to. Visualize what you will do once the topic of your least favorite subject comes up (a recent divorce, fertility, your job, money issues, your weight, your kids’ behavior, etc…). Decide whether or not your will state your boundaries or if you will simply remove yourself from the situation.

Debrief and recharge

After each family event, sit down and go over what happened. Did your new boundaries get crossed? Or were you able to defend them? What can you do differently next time?

After you have thought about the event, recharge. Recharging can mean different things to different people. Here is a list of some of our favorites:

  • Do a cleanse
  • Hit the gym
  • Meditate
  • Take a bath with Epson salts
  • Go to bed early
  • Take a long walk
  • Unplug from social media
  • Spend some time with your favorite pet
  • Drink water with lemon juice
  • Read or enjoy a movie
  • Spend time doing something creative

 New reactions and behaviors can take time to implement. Be patient with yourself as you work on placing and defending your boundaries at each of the family and friend events that will pop up this holiday season.

 How do you maintain your boundaries on a daily basis? Tell us in the comments below!