The festive period is here and gathering with family over the holidays means encountering moments that you’d rather do without. It can be a relative, who keeps commenting on your body, giving unsolicited comments about your life or making snide remarks that are more than triggering.

Setting boundaries is important for maintaining wellness, healthy bonds and minimizing anxiety. To help make the holidays something to look forward to and not dread, knowing your boundaries will be key.

Why Journaling Can Help With Healthy Boundaries

Journaling is one of the best ways to evaluate growth and self-talk habits. Many use journaling to connect with their inner thoughts and release stuck emotions, thought patterns and observations onto the page. Making space for journaling about setting boundaries is sure to rectify poor boundaries or strengthen positive ones. While setting boundaries is not a cure-all for unhealthy family dynamics, it can lead to greater inner peace and self-worth.

Here are some guided journal prompts that will encourage and empower you to create firmer boundaries over the festive period.

40 Journal Prompts for Setting Boundaries Over the Holidays

When do you feel you’re most empowered?

What conversations feel good with your family?

What conversations feel heavy with your family?

How often do you engage in vulnerable conversations while visiting family?

Are you comfortable saying ‘no’ without further explanation? Explore this some more.

What do you feel is your role in the family? 

In what ways would you like to maintain and/or resist this role?

What affirmations can you use to affirm your boundaries? Write them down and recite them when it feels useful.

Identify the moment when you realized you needed to set boundaries with your family.

Do you generally feel confident when gathered with your family?

Describe a time when you set a healthy boundary. How did it feel?

Are there any family members who have set a good example of setting boundaries?

In five words, describe your relationship with your family in childhood.

In five words, describe your relationship with your family as an adult.

What has changed about your adult relationship with your family? 

Is there anything about your friendship bonds that you may want to bring into your family bonds?

Name three practical ways that you could introduce this into your family life.

Write a thank you letter to yourself for maintaining your boundaries while with your family.

How can you extend compassion to your family dynamic?

What learned behaviors have you adopted from your family?

Write a compassionate letter to yourself, forgiving the moments that you acted outside of your current personality while in conversation with your family. 

What is an enjoyable amount of time to spend with your family?

How do you unwind after a long day of gatherings?

What are your coping mechanisms and/or resources for navigating a tough time with your family?

If accessible, who in your family (extended family included) could you talk to about healing and inner reflection?

Do you have the same love language as most of your family members? 

Which family members do you naturally gravitate to the most? Why?

What compliments about your personality/lifestyle have you received from your family?

Which are your go-to examples of phrases to gently and clearly set boundaries about things you’re not willing to discuss?

How do your sibling(s) feel about family gatherings?

What are you most proud of about your family/culture?

What potential triggers are you already aware of when in conversation with family?

How do you feel about the term ‘family loyalty’?

Have you ever had to opt out of a family gathering for the sake of your own wellness?

How do you address any guilt that arises from setting boundaries?

What in you needs to heal to joyfully connect with your family?

How would setting boundaries with your family make your life feel more free?

If it shows up, how do you deal with people-pleasing?

Is there anyone or anything you need to forgive?

Looking back on past situations, what changes could be made early on to avoid your boundaries being mishandled?