Real "Holiday Feels" & Setting Boundaries

The holidays can be such a Catch-22 for me. I absolutely love getting the whole family together and making time to spend with family and friends. I love trying to find the perfect gift – even if it’s for a grab bag or white elephant gift – and I love seeing the joy on others’ faces when they open it up.

But I also feel a lot of other emotions and feel guilty for feeling anything other than joy and the “holiday spirit”. I used to joke around and call myself the Grinch, because even though I love the time with my family and all of the aforementioned aspects, I don’t go crazy for every single aspect of the holiday season. I don’t play Christmas music on repeat and watch every single Christmas movie on Netflix (mostly because it’s such a busy time of the year. I’m sure I would love them if I actually did watch them all!)

I used to think it was the middle child in me acting out and not feeling a certain way “just because I was expected to” but I’ve realized it’s so much more than that.

The holidays are a crazy busy time for almost everyone. There’s holiday parties, shopping for gifts, trying to find the best sales, planning for holiday parties, and prepping for holiday dinners. There’s travel and having to fly or drive 3 hours and trying to see everyone but not leave any one party too early.

That’s a lot. For anyone.

But I also often feel so overwhelmed that when I finally have some down time, I feel underwhelmed. Honestly, feeling high stress and anxiety is both physically and mentally draining.

I’ve also had some years where more than others I feel the effects of seasonal affect disorder.

This year, I feel a little extra sadness for some close family members that I lost recently. I’m heartbroken that they’re no longer with me and I’m especially sad that on a day that celebrates family, that they won’t be here. I’m sad I won’t be able to spend time with them and I’m sad for my family who is feeling the exact same way.

I know it’s normal to feel this way. I need to grieve, and I’m still trying to figure out how. I don’t think there’s a “right” way to do it the and process is different for everyone.

But – knowing that this is such a “normal” thing to feel – I can’t help but to wonder why, logically, I feel so guilty about feeling other emotions.

I know that I have so much to be grateful for – and honestly, I am. I have my health. My family. Caring friends. A roof over my head and warmth during the cold weather.

But sometimes, I feel other *normal* things too. I know I’m not the only one that feels….






Like I should be “doing more”.

 So, this year, instead of beating myself up for it and draining myself even further, I’m trying to sit with all of my emotions.

That is so much easier said than done, but if I’ve learned anything it’s that the only way past the uncomfortable emotions is through them. I’m trying to pause and figure out why I’m feeling these things.

I’m setting boundaries because I deserve a pause and I deserve to be happy and feel okay.

Boundaries can be anything from…

Setting a curfew for yourself so you’re not out at your holiday party all hours of the night.

Setting a time to wrap presents and setting time to zone out in a good book.

Stepping away from stalemate opposing political conversations at a family party.

Taking 5 minutes for yourself to sit in silence.

Being unapologetic for what you’re doing to take care of yourself.  

If you’re feeling anything but 100% joy & holiday spirit…. Know that you’re not the only one feeling that way. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and it’s understandable that when you’re trying to do it all, you feel drained.

Take some time for yourself. Set boundaries where you need them. Give yourself some extra love if you need it.