Hi there nesstie,
Life is too short (and stressful) to commit to people and traditions that make you feel bad. Most of us know this radical philosophy in some way, but during the holidays, it seems to recede into the darkest folds of our brains.
We say yes to traveling when we might not feel totally safe doing so. We say yes to spending our precious time off with family members who don’t respect or value our beliefs or personhood. We say yes to one too many potlucks when we really just want to crawl under a blanket, order Thai food, and watch the new Twentysomethings episodes.
My therapist once asked me why I don’t just RSVP “no” to events that simply don’t pass the vibe check. (I paraphrase.) This is not a recommendation to bail on any and all gatherings with loved ones just ‘cause you don’t feel like it. But if you’re consumed with anxiety or dread, and the folks you’re supposed to convene with maybe aren’t worthy of tirelessly navigating triggers, do something else.
Whether that’s finally deciding to create your own customs with your chosen family, creating a hard exit that allows you to leave by a certain time, or just picking two or three things that you actually want to go to and declining the other invites, boundaries are wellness. And if someone makes you feel selfish for setting boundaries, that’s not on you to appease.
Especially in a workforce where paid time off is hard to come by (or hard to ask for), you deserve to spend that corporate-sanctioned freedom cozily, joyously, and restoratively.
Self-preservation is festive,
Melanie, editor at The Nessie