Navigating COVID-19 During the Holidays

In addition to all the hardship COVID-19 brings, the separation brought upon different vaccination beliefs is the cherry on top. With COVID affecting our everyday lives, it is a difficult political issue to avoid. And with the holidays coming up, it is harder to turn a blind eye to what we’ve been dreading—setting COVID boundaries for our physical and mental health.

Boundary setting is a practice well-described by therapist Nedra Glover Tawwab in her book, Set Boundaries, Find Peace. It is a balancing act of being assertive and kind. Feeling mentally and physically safe is never a negotiation. So boundary setting should not involve explaining yourself. It is not impeding on others’ freedom of speech because they are free to say what they would like, but not around you—which is part of your freedom. There will be those who do not take your boundary well, and that is normal. Setting a boundary shows you respect yourself. It is okay to hold people accountable and remind them consistently. Overall, boundaries are an attempt to have harmonious relationships despite differing opinions. Because let’s face it, it would be a shame to let COVID separate us any further.

For those ready to tackle COVID boundary setting, here are some phrases to keep in your back pocket this holiday season: 

“I respect your vaccination decisions, and I expect the same respect regarding my decision on who I invite to my household/gathering” 

“I do not feel comfortable discussing COVID and if you continue, I will leave” 

“I do not feel comfortable joking about COVID regulations”

“I am content and set on my decision and appreciate you refraining from giving unsolicited advice” 

“I do not feel comfortable discussing COVID related topics”

“I am only comfortable hanging out with you in the following conditions: outdoors, 2m away, with masks” 

“Please have your mask on or I will leave” 

COVID has led us all to experience loss in one form or another. What would be more devastating is to choose to continue that loss by losing loved ones due to differing beliefs. Let’s stay as connected as possible with boundary setting. If you need someone to vent over the stressors of the holiday season, book a session here


Lynda Gutierrez

Three things you will always find in my purse: an old snack wrapper, a book and some hand lotion. I like to write about mental health to connect!

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