Holiday Priorities & Boundaries - Five Steps for Resilient Holidays

fivesteps free printable holidays resilience worksheet Dec 03, 2021

Well, it looks like the holiday season is upon us (already??). We’re already in our 7th week of brand new Hallmark Christmas movies (yes, we’re fans). There’s eggnog in the coffee, and the Costco Beer Advent calendar has made a grand entrance.

The holidays can bring up a lot of different emotions. For many, they increase stress (to-dos, gatherings, gift giving).

How do you feel about the holidays? Are you excited about seeing loved ones and celebrating family traditions? Are you feeling lonely, sad, are you grieving? Are you feeling anxious about everything you have to get done? Maybe you’re a pot-pourri of all the feelings.

We want you to be set up for success. We want to you show up as your favorite* self this holiday season. So here are mindfulness incubator's FIVE STEPS to holiday resilience. If you’d like to follow along, grab this free printable worksheet (


The holidays can seriously disrupt your routines, and the things that help you be physically and mentally resilient can easily fly out the window. Most of us are a lot less diligent about keeping up our good habits this time of year. According to gallup polls, frequent exercise typically falls to its lowest level of the year in December.

Before the hustle and bustle really kicks off, take a few minutes to set your holiday self care non-negotiables. What will help you be resilient? Some categories to consider.

  • Movement - activities that raise your heartrate, stretching, strength training
  • Mental health - Mindfulness, meditation, therapy or counseling, coaching, journaling
  • Diet/nutrition - Hydration, foods you want to eat, foods you want to avoid
  • Connection - Time with loved ones, time by yourself
  • This space intentionally left blank - What else might help you?


This one might be counterintuitive, but this is not about setting new, stretch goals. Stretch goals are awesome, but that’s not what this is about. This is about the baseline, non-negotiables. Set yourself up for success, and find a version of your goals that you can easily achieve.

What does this mean? Let's talk through an example.

Say you’ve found that your self-care baseline needs to include movement and some kind of journaling. You feel like garbage when you go more than a few days without moving. Journaling helps you process your feelings. Cool, focus on those two. You don’t need goals in every category.

Now draft some high level goals for yourself in those categories. What’s reasonable? What can you easily do?

For example, if your typical routine includes a 5x per week Peloton spinning habit. Awesome! But now you’re heading to your family’s cabin in the woods, no spinning studio or Peloton in sight. How can you incorporate getting your heart rate up regularly wherever you’ll be? What’s realistic and achievable, but will still help you feel like you’re looking after your needs? Maybe you plan to take a brisk walk, try snowshoeing, dance to your favorite songs in the bathroom, or do a quick yoga flow routine in your bedroom. These baseline goals should be super duper achievable.

If you want to overachieve on the day and do more, great, but go easy on the baseline goal.

Why? So you can actually do it. It's a lot easier to carve out 15 or 20 minutes than find an hour when things are hectic. When you set an achievable goal, you multiply your opportunities to be successful with it.


This one’s really important. Get crystal clear and concrete about what that baseline goal is. What will you do? How long will you do it for? Where will you do it?

Here's an example:

  • GOOD: “I’m going to exercise regularly”. 
  • BETTER: “I’m going to exercise 3 times a week”
  • BEST: “I’m going to get my heart rate up for at least 20 minutes Monday, Wednesday and Friday, by either walking vigorously, doing a yoga class, or doing a family outdoor activity”

Your goal should be specific, and again, eminently reasonable and achievable. 


In not at all shocking news, people consume more calories during the holidays.

What's your poison? Is it spiked eggnog, yule log, Christmas cookies, stuffing, or all of the above? It’s hard not to indulge at this time of year. 

You know that the key is here? ENJOY IT and CONTAIN IT.

  • ENJOY IT: Savor the darn thing. Whatever it is you are consuming (food, beverage, television, media). If you’re going to indulge, do it mindfully. Avoid distracted eating, drinking, browsing or watching. If you’re going to spend the calories or take the time, make it worth it by being fully present.
  • CONTAIN IT: Decide, in advance, when you will and when you won’t indulge. Just because you’re having a decadent holiday does not mean you need to eat every treat in sight 24/7. It’s much different to have one heavy meal, then to say “screw it I’ve already blown my diet” and eat cookies and milkshakes for breakfast. Set boundaries around when, how often, and how much. Examples might look like:
    • "I’m going to have an amazing, delicious, decadent meal on Saturday night. I’ll have a salad for lunch, and a smoothie for breakfast, avoid snacking and sweets during the day, and I’ll go for a walk after the meal."
    • "I know I’m likely to have a bit more wine on Sunday night, so I’m going to avoid drinking for a day (or more) before/after."
    • "I’m going to stick to one alcoholic drink or less per day. I'll make an exception for Thursday’s party, where I will have no more than three (and a designated driver, naturally)."


It’s always easier to stay on top of your habits when those around you are supportive. Or at least, when you're not sabotaged.

If you’re spending time with folks who are generally supportive, let them know of your baseline well being goals. For example “Hey [mom/dad/sister/husband], I find that I’m able to show up for our family stuff in the best way when I [baseline goal category]. I plan to do this by [specific goal]. I’d love your support in [encouraging me/joining me/not overtly trying to talk me out of it/reminding me]”.

If you’re spending time with people who have the bad habit of undermining you (whether it’s intentional or not), plan ahead. If they’re going to be judgmental about your needs, find ways to do what you need to do off the radar. For example, say “hey I’m going to run to the store to get more eggnog”, and squeeze in a brisk 20 minute walk in town. Or set your alarm 20 minutes earlier and go through a yoga flow while everyone’s asleep. Or meditate when everyone's gone to bed. Whatever you need to do.

This is why getting specific matters. It allows you to visualize your upcoming week and determine in advance how you can set yourself. How you can ensure you are meeting your needs. 

TL:DR - Set yourself up for mindful, resilient holidays!

By following these five easy steps:

  1. Know what kind of self care you need to be your favorite self
  2. Set realistic, easy to achieve goals
  3. Get specific: When, where, how long?
  4. Contain your debauchery
  5. Get support 

Grab this free printable worksheet to help you along the way (! And if you know someone who could benefit from these five steps, please share. 

No matter where you are, who you’re with, if the holidays are a source of joy or stress, we hope you find these 5 steps helpful. Go on, be your favorite self!


*We say favorite because “best” implies you should always be productive, performing. If that’s who you want to be right now great, but your favorite self can also be in sweats and fuzzy socks on the couch with hot cocoa.

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