The season of giving is one of the easiest times to get caught up in not taking care of yourself. Year after year you shift into a position of wanting to be everything to everyone to make sure your holidays are picture-perfect. You put so much pressure on yourself that instead of enjoying the holidays, you are drained and just waiting for the new year. Make this year and the coming years different with implementing just three things:

1. Set boundaries with friends & family. Boundaries and communication are an important part of your life year-round but during these times you are around more people at social events and family gatherings that you might not have close personal relationships with. We all have a grandma that insists you finish our plate or a family member you haven’t seen in a long time that makes a comment about your body. Setting boundaries allows you to enjoy these events without your values being disregarded. Remember, you are only treated as you allow yourself to be treated. To set a boundary, be short and concise: what you are doing, how you feel and what do you need? It could look like; “I am focused on eating in a way that makes me feel good, it hurts my feelings when people make comments about my food and body. I would really like your support because I love and care about you.”

2. Take breaks and practice self-care. Self-care may be challenging this time of year with so many things added to your to-do list but that is a big reason to be preventative with your practices. Taking regular breaks so you aren’t overwhelmed will allow you to complete things that are important to you but also make sure your cup is filled and you aren’t feeling resentful. You might need a shopping trip alone, for yourself. You might need to pick and choose which social events you really want to attend so you can have some quiet nights at home. When you know stress will be higher you can take a few steps and give yourself some time each day, even 5-minutes can make a difference.

3. Say no to things you don’t want. You feel like you need to say yes to everything in this season—going to every event, trying every dish at every social event, helping everyone close to you get through their to-do list all while having your own. I’m giving you permission to say no, without feeling like you have to justify it. It is your calendar, your life, and your body, the choices you make should be ones that you want. If you don’t want the cranberry sauce, don’t eat it. If you don’t want to finish your plate, don’t. If you don’t want to attend the 47th Christmas event this week, don’t. Just remember, when you say yes to something that means you say no to something else. Don’t let that something else be yourself.

In the end, your validation doesn’t need to come from pleasing others, you aren’t valuable because of the gifts you can buy, the parties you can throw or the food you can make. Playing your part in helping others to find joy and happiness is only fulfilling if we are doing it from a place of fullness ourselves. I encourage you to practice these simple tools and let me know how prioritizing yourself changes this season for you!