Navigating Family Dynamics During the Holidays

Today we are happy to share a post from Laura Jackson, our clinical director here at Anchored Counseling Co. Lauren finds fulfillment in guiding individuals to discover and embrace hope even during their most challenging moments. She places great importance on the role of building connections and embracing vulnerability as essential pathways to healing. Lauren’s dedication is primarily focused on assisting those dealing with issues like eating disorders, anxiety, depression, grief, trauma, and adjustments during life transitions. Her counseling approach is grounded in empathy, safety, authenticity, and the belief that every person possesses intrinsic worth and possesses the internal resources for complete healing and recovery. She supports her clients using a Health at Every Size framework, with a strong emphasis on cultivating trust and respect for one’s body. Lauren considers it a privilege to accompany her clients on this transformative journey.

From Lauren:

The holidays can be a time of joy and, for many,  a time of deep grief and loneliness. There can be a cultural expectation to be “jolly” during the holiday season. As a result, we can put pressure on ourselves to feel like we always have to be in a good mood or have a good time in family settings. We are here to say it’s ok if that’s not your current reality and it’s ok to spend time thinking about what your boundaries are, particularly in gatherings with family. These times can bring up old childhood memories and perhaps childhood wounds as well. It is important to validate your emotional experiences through each gathering. Below we dive into three ways to set boundaries during the holiday season: 

  1. First, it is important to understand when we may benefit from setting a boundary with family at a holiday gathering. This may look like developing insight into how you feel if conflict arises and maybe how you want to handle situations in which there is disagreement. If you know how certain family members typically show up to family gatherings, you can also prepare ahead of time for setting a boundary. 
  1. Secondly, we have to understand how to set a boundary with family. We can assert ourselves verbally by something along the lines of: “Please do not talk about this,” or “We will only be able to stay until this time,” or “It is ok if that’s how you behave in your home, we do not behave this way here.” Setting boundaries can feel super uncomfortable at times; and being uncomfortable isn’t necessarily an indicator that we shouldn’t set the boundary in the first place. 
  1. Lastly, I recommend cultivating your own support system in setting boundaries with your family. This can look like a spouse or partner, a caring friend, or a therapist. Boundaries support us in loving people in our lives well. 

If you are on your journey to healthier boundaries in your life, I see you. One of my favorite books on this subject is “Drama Free” by Nedra Tawaab. I encourage you to try out these ideas and let me know how it goes. 

Affirmation of the Day: I am empowered in trusting myself to set boundaries during the holiday season. 


We hope you found Laura’s reflections on navigating family dynamics during the holidays valuable. If her message resonated with you, this could be the perfect time to take meaningful steps toward your healing and peace. To initiate your work with Laura, please feel free to call our office at 615.510.3797 or click here to learn more.

Anchored Counseling Company is a a group practice specializing in the treatment of anxiety, depression, body image concerns, eating disorders & disordered eating, substance use, trauma and PTSD, and spirituality in Brentwood, Tennessee and serving the greater Nashville, Tennessee area. We are easily accessible for clients living in Franklin, Tennessee and Spring Hill, Tennessee. 

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