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Tis the season: why I decided to put myself first during the holidays

Clear communication of my needs, time for myself, and start saying no to people-these strategies will keep me emotionally healthy this holiday season!

I feel the need of sharing what I’ve been experiencing and the changes I choose to implement in this holiday season.  Why? Because I’ve realized that my people-pleasing tendencies are out of control, and I get to make changes to improve my life.

My waves of anxiety always start during the pre-holidays stage. It comes down to the anticipation, expectations, and execution of all that needs to be done prior to the most magical time of the year. Let me explain.  My to-do list is always long during the whole year but when the horizon of the holidays starts to arise, the list is basically interminable. And to be completely transparent with you, I feel like it is solely my responsibility of providing a magical Christmas experience for the whole family including extended family!  I get resentful because I believe it is not fair. It should be a joint effort from my partner and family.

It just feels that everything relies on me. If I don’t move a finger, nobody bothers and cares to get things done.  Now don’t get me wrong: I love Christmas day when I experience the joy and happiness in my kid’s eyes. But when that moment passes I feel exhausted, depleted and with no energy! Can you relate? Does it happen to you too?  

I have to confess that I get angry and resentful with family and most importantly my partner. He does not seem to care and does not carry the same amount of duty and obligation that I have…  And at the end of the season, everybody is happy and I feel sad and not appreciated… It only can takes a simple thank you or a small gesture of appreciation from my partner or adult family members regarding all that I do for the family.  It just feels that it is expected, and always taken for granted.

I’ve been thinking so long and hard about this and I realize that I cannot control my family’s behavior, the only thing I can control is my own behavior.  Right? If I experienced feelings of frustration, resentment and anger, I get to decide and do something about it so that I can get the joy and happiness of the Christmas holidays too.  Why? Because I deserve to be happy and I am the only one responsible for my happiness.

2018 has been a year of self-discovery and I made the decision to change things a little and focus on the following on this holiday season:


1. Clear communication of the support I need: I have been intentionally looking at my behavior and noticed that I don’t express clearly what I need from my family, and then I expect them to take initiative.  When they don’t engage and when things don’t happen the way I want, I feel resentful and start to feel that the Christmas holiday experience is a job or an obligation for me to create, instead of a joyful and happy experience of giving.

Therefore, this year I will clearly communicate the support I need: I will make phone calls, write emails and even hold a family meeting to open up discussion.   I will be open to receive support and feedback. Also, I will suggest an action plan to facilitate the conversation. At the end of the day, I will give them the opportunity to jump in, and I will have the certainty that I am expressing my needs and hope for support.  

I will not expect them to jump in and do everything! I believe it will be a process for my family to start being familiar with my new method of communication.


2. Giving me:  I realized that I do too much to please everybody else and forget about pleasing me. To be honest, I buy gifts for everyone and I can’t recall one time where I bought something for me! Can you believe that?  This year I will implement a tradition of buying an experience for me. Yes, an experience because I realized that things don’t make me happy anymore. It could be a small thing like a pedicure, or perhaps a relaxing body massage…  It has been so long! This simple idea brings so much excitement and a big smile to my face while I am writing this.

3. My first healthy boundary: start saying “no” to people - I have done a lot of self reflection, and I’ve noticed that I have a hard time saying no.  Does it happen to you? It gets overwhelming. It escalates to a point that I say “yes” to everyone to the extent that I neglect my own needs. This it is a personal habit that I’ve had all my life and truly it is not working for me anymore.  Somehow it gives me a temporary good feeling of helping people which is important to me, but it comes with a high ticket price and that is my well being. So today I am making a commitment to myself! I will be more intentional and start to manage my time better, by saying no more.

Now I am super curious to know: does my story resonates with you too? If yes, what is one thing that you can do for yourself this month, so that you feel at your best during the busy holidays season?

I am Socary Rodriguez, I am a certified Life Transitions coach and reinvention strategist, and I work with women that are going through major transitions in life, and guide them to remember their courage, self worth and JOY!

You can reach Socary at [email protected] and connect with her.

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