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mw editorial

managing expectations during the holidays

December 3, 2021

The holidays are a lively time for gift-giving, family get-togethers, and personal reflection. When the seasons change, we often change with them, and when we return to people, places, and things that were once familiar to us, sometimes it is expected that we will be the same as we once were. As holiday times approach, this time is full of expectations from others, ourselves, and even society! Being present for events, hosting, and budgeting all put pressure on our expectations for the holidays. Let’s focus on making the holiday season merry and bright by following these tips.


Don’t lose track of your needs during this time. Balance what you need to do to feel healthy. Don’t be afraid to negotiate plans! You are totally in control of your needs. Setting goals for what you can and cannot commit to will help you feel less overwhelmed.

Show appreciation in a way that feels good to you. If you can’t meet an expectation, think about a compromise that feels good to you. And if there is no compromise, that is okay too! Saying “no” is just as important as saying “yes.”


Try to communicate to yourself first what commitments will feel good and stick to your boundaries when making adjustments.

Having conversations with people you trust around your boundaries promotes inclusivity and validates your needs!

Set aside time to check in with yourself. Find a quiet moment to breathe or write in a journal to assess how you are feeling.

Adjust as needed! Do what feels good to you. Don’t judge yourself if you aren’t meeting someone else’s expectations. The only thing that matters is your view of yourself.


Triggers are normal. When we have done the work to learn and get past obstacles in our lives, we acknowledge that we have paid attention to and cared for something in our past. While we feel emotions about triggers at the moment, we can work through them.

Acknowledge that the holidays are just a moment in time that we are passing through, and whatever comes up to you can be acknowledged, heard, and appreciated. You are working towards greatness in your health and mindfulness, and escaping the trap of perfectionism keeps us within our boundaries with ease.

Enjoy this time, and remember that if all else fails, find a support system you can lean on during this time who can reinforce what you’re working on and encourage you all the way.


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