While the holidays are all about giving, most often we forget to give to the one person who needs it most: ourselves. With lots of excitement taking place including visiting family and friends, participating in rituals and different festive events to attend – it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with busy schedules, and obligations. Trust me, we have all been there. As much as you love your grandma’s apple pie, being around family can bring out all sorts of emotions. This is why it is important to recognize what you need during this holiday season, and the power in just saying ‘no’.

Setting mindful boundaries with family and friends can be crucial to getting through the holidays, not just for your own mental and emotional health, but for your future relationship with your relatives.  You can’t control how others behave or act but you can mitigate potential burn out or resentment by listening to your needs and showing up for yourself.

This can be simple things like not saying yes to every invite that comes in, or if you do decide to go, make a time when you plan to duck out. 

If you’re home early enough, you can try to give yourself space and partake in something to help you unwind. Shaeleigh Afton of Toronto, Ontario admits her evening ritual is to put on a sheet face mask, turn off her phone, throw on some 2000’s indie rock really loudly and smoke a high CBD strain like Mango Haze from Color or one of the CBD pre-rolls from Ace Valley adding, “It helps me to unlock full zen mode.”

But not all holiday events are cut and dry, and you’ll have to actually have to sit down and decide which ones you want to give your time and energy to. Large family gatherings can often be full of toxic and negative energy, which is why you’ll have to decide what limits you want to set for yourself and what you feel won’t drain you, or leave you feeling bad afterward.

Annie MacEachern is the eldest of four and the auntie of two sweet poodles in Charlottetown. She moved to Toronto and notes that her trips home during the holidays can get a little hectic. “After a night of too much socializing, the perfect way to wind down is infused bath bombs,” MacEachern explains. She’ll add 400 mg of CBD to the tub, and explains it is the perfect way to take some self-care for herself, and the perfect way to soak away any bad vibes.

Nothing changes if nothing changes, which is why it is necessary to know how to stand up for yourself and what to say. Sometimes a simple ‘no’ or ‘I am feeling burned out, sick and tired’ can work. Dan Goulet of Kitchener, Ontario will often take time for himself during the holidays to utilize mindfulness exercises and knows this is important for him to get through. He vaporizes a solventless concentrate through his dab rig that helps with his GI and post-concussion issues explaining, “I produce my own medicine and make a high-CBD oil that I use twice a day that provides long-lasting relief” which he is open and honest with others about. It’s important for Goulet to partake in this ritual, and for him – it is a necessary boundary to be upheld.

Just remember, this time of year doesn’t have to be about all or nothing, it is just necessary to live a happy, healthy life that you feel fulfilled by. So often, cannabis can play a huge role in that journey. Vee Mercier of Prince Edward Island explains, “Cannabis and self-care have been intimately related in my existence. Because of years of severe chronic pain, cannabis has allowed me to escape and to feel present all at once.”

Listen, setting boundaries might sound scary. But just imagine the freedom you will have getting to spend time doing what you love when you set them. Your boundaries shouldn’t depend on others, but rather on what you want and need. Start small by writing out what it is you’re looking for this holiday season, and what brings you joy. Is it baking cookies, or buying gifts for others? Maybe this year you want to start a new tradition with your chosen family, or you’d love to host others this holiday season. Whatever it is that you chose: you deserve to start feeling good from the inside out, and you should start setting those intentions this holiday season.

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