3 essentials for the festive season

by Mandy Herold
3 essential for the festive season - BabyYumYum
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The festive season and family holidays can been astonishingly stressful and leave you feeling depleted rather than recharged. At the end of a long year where so much has happened and emotions run high, it’s imperative that we have boundaries in place to take care of our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health explains BabyYumYum’s expert Connection Coach, Mandy Herold.

I remember clearly driving to a big family holiday a few years ago, knowing that we were going to be spending prolonged time in close quarters (e.g. sharing a kitchen) I told my little family (hubby and 2 children) that I would be mindful of my triggers and be able to de-escalate stressful moments with more grace and grit… well that didn’t last long!

Here are the 3 essential boundaries during the festive season:

Boundaries with yourself

Establishing boundaries with yourself is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family this festive season. And no, self-love is not selfish, it’s self-respect.

Society has duped us into believing that our productivity is directly linked to our self-worth… and this is simply not true. We do not have to wear exhaustion as a status symbol. Prioritising rest and play throughout the year (not just during December) is imperative. We live in a society where toxic achievement is still the name of the game… but what is the cost?

Some ideas about boundaries with yourself:

  • Better sleep
  • Healthy meals
  • Exercise
  • Limiting screen time and mindless scrolling through social media
  • Soul food – whatever that means for you – Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, reading or gardening.
  • Crafts – crocheting, mosaicking, building a puzzle

You cannot drink from an empty cup – fill your tank so you can give to those around you. This is the antidote to ‘Mom-rage’ that seems to be so prevalent. Mom-rage leads to feels of resentment because of the mental load you’re carrying. This does not serve anyone, least of all yourself.

A coaching client of mine recently told me how during the first week of December, her and her husband have a massive blowout about how their current pace of life and expectations are not sustainable. We talked about how better boundaries with herself throughout the year may help in this regard.

Check out Get outdoors with your family this summer

Boundaries with your children

Children thrive on structure and boundaries, and yes, even during the festive season it’s important to have clear boundaries. Flexibility around bedtime and screentime can be negotiated but it’s important that it doesn’t become a ‘free for all’.

The following list is not dissimilar to the boundaries with yourself. Remember, you are a role model for your children – you can’t tell them to get off their devices and read a book if you’re not leading by example.

  • Sleep routines
  • Eating routines
  • Exercise
  • Screentime

Read Your child’s online safety

How to prepare for the festive season

Boundaries with your family

How much family time is too much for you? Family dramas can be very draining on your general state of wellbeing. Set boundaries with your family ahead of time.

  • Finances – e.g. we’re going to split the costs
  • Discussion topics – politics, religion or crime! Honouring yourself and your family means being assertive (not aggressive or passive aggressive) about what is okay and what is off the table.
  • Clarity/expectations about gifts
  • Keeping shared spaces tidy
  • Suspend judgement of other’s parenting styles
  • Ask for help! Be more proactive and talk about what you need from your family to lighten the mental load. Let go of what is not serving you!

A close family friend of ours is a psychiatrist in Johannesburg and every January families struggle to get an appointment with him to reset their routines due to less than optimal festive seasons. You can put boundaries in place now to avoid needing a holiday after your holiday!

Also read How to set healthy boundaries

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