Tips to help you take charge this Christmas and be assertive in the face of all the loved ones asking for your time

Generally speaking, it can seem that men are naturally assertive – they want something, they take it or they have no qualms asking for it.

Women on the other hand may feel the need to be diplomatic, they may feel guilt, the need to consider others feelings or may fear being called aggressive or bitchy.

While this difference between the genders may be placed as just a piece of the bigger picture of inequality or social stereotypes, here’s how you can be assertive this Christmas so you can take control of your self and your choices.

zena and bec fighting over measuring tape

How to be more assertive this Christmas

Nice guys finish last

Constantly taking into account other peoples feelings or needs may be nice and considerate however you may also find that your needs and wants come in last.

This can then leave you with unhealthy coping mechanisms like emotional eating in the face of stress and other negative events.

Self-care is such an integral component in being healthy and leading a positive lifestyle.

If you think this sounds selfish, chances are you’ve gotten so used to putting others before yourself, you’ve lost a sense of how important you are.

This Christmas if the build-up with the present buying, cleaning, planning and cooking are becoming overwhelming and stressful, don’t ask for permission to have a break, just take it!

Soaking in energy in morning sun.

Don’t give in, compromise

How many times have you given in to other peoples demands and wishes because you’ve found yourself too scared to say no or not wanted to rock the boat?

Being assertive involves having courage and strength to hold your own, qualities you may not believe you possess.

Think about the things you have done to lose so much weight, you’ve made conscious choices in your life for the better – believe it or not, this takes strength and courage!

Instead of trying to cook for multiple families plus clean the house all by yourself, delegate cleaning jobs to your partner and kids. Let them know that if they do the cleaning up and you will take care of the cooking.

If you find yourself faced with the task of cooking a Christmas meal for multiple families, ask guests to bring a plate and you’ll take care of the mains like turkey or ham and desserts.

If healthy eating saboteurs are trying to force you to eat something you know you’ll regret later, diplomatically tell them no!

Whatever your situation this Christmas, don’t cave in! Set your own terms then be prepared to compromise but don’t stray too far from your conditions.

Shara Smith relaxing Christmas

You can’t please everyone

Some women try to please everyone and find themselves stretched so thin, they start to crumble under the strain.

Once you put yourself first and set your own terms, people may accuse you of being selfish or find fault in what you do. These are the people who are toxic in your life and who’s opinion you could do without.

It’s impossible to please everyone, the only people you need to consider is yourself and your immediate family.

So if you suggest to the family to bring a plate and some people have an issue with that, let them know it’s unrealistic for you to cook for so many people by yourself and take care of your children at the same time.

If they don’t want to contribute by bringing a plate, perhaps they should reconsider their attendance or arrive after the meal is finish for dessert.

It may sound harsh and people will most likely call you names, but you can’t please everyone and nor should you try to.

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written by:

Shara Smith

Shara is a psychotherapist and a counsellor, who has over 12 years experience in the mental health, life coaching and self-care sector. While she loves her husband and three kids, she also loves watching re-runs of Sex in the City and baking decadent cookies that only she gets to eat.