Boundaries, we either love them or hate them depending on which side of them we fall on. When we start implementing boundaries it can feel so freeing. Often when we have none life is simply too overwhelming and making time for ourselves with self-care does not happen as a result. This is why setting boundaries is so important.
Why are boundaries so important?
Structuring what we will tolerate and what we won’t tolerate allows us the freedom to live in the way we desire. But most importantly we communicate within ourselves what is important, how we want to be treated, how we desire to live, and how we are going to make it a priority to take care of ourselves.
Boundaries allow us the space to take care of ourselves, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Setting boundaries is positively affirming and grounding in our own self responsibility.
Think on this one, a lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect.
But here’s the thing, I am not just talking about respect from other people in your life. I am talking also about your own self respect.
Possibly even more important than the respect of others. Frankly, if we don’t have high self-respect when we start setting what we tolerate and don’t tolerate it’s going to get hard for other people to fall into line.
We need boundaries to create the container and structure for our self-care to be fully successful.
Setting them in all areas of our life is important for overall self and soul care.
Setting boundaries that serve you is important.
On my Instagram stories yesterday I shared that in the past year I have had to reevaluate my boundaries with work, and even in different relationships because of work. My business has grown and so with that have come more responsibilities, different priorities and a lot more time.
87% of my audience shared that they struggle with work boundaries. 81% shared they wished they could have better boundaries with work.
This isn’t surprising one because work is really hard to separate ourselves from, but also it’s easier now more than ever to really stay connected to work through technology and basically any time of the day.
In setting boundaries for myself with work, I look at what is it that I need, and what can I do to support that need? This is a great template structure for setting any boundary, but it works especially well for navigating work. Last night I shared on my Instagram stories that a boundary I was going to set was not getting on Instagram for the rest of the night.
I set this for myself for two reasons. First, I looked at what I needed. One need was that I wanted space from work. A second need was that I really had other things that called for my attention to finish in order to get the space I wanted for the rest of the night. Then I looked at what’s one way I can get that space for myself, well it’s not getting on Instagram which serves as a distraction from the other things I need to get done, and is an extension of my work.
So last night, I didn’t get on Instagram. And guess what? The boundary served me so well! I was able to get the other work I needed to done, and then have the space to enjoy the rest of my evening completely separate from work.
Boundaries will look different for various parts of your life, but it’s important to get clear on what you need and where you need them.
Some examples of boundaries with…
– Stop checking your email past a certain time at night.
– It’s okay to not be available all hours of the day.
– Actually take your sick days when you need them.
– Use your resources to delegate instead of needing to do everything all on your own.
– If you’re an entrepreneur set some guidelines around when you will not be working so you can actually take some time away.
– Get clear on your needs with how much time you spend with family.
-How available are you to help others in your family?
-Any topics off limits with certain members of your family?
-Decide how much alone time do you need when you’re on a trip with your family.
– Understand and know some of your triggers when being around family so you can create safe boundaries for yourself with those.
– Communicate with your spouse about what time you need or how much help you need with the children.
– Set boundaries on having you time if you have children and communicate that with your children in a positive way (if they are old enough).
– Decide what are priorities when it comes to your social life.
– How do you allow friends in your life to treat you?
-Say “no” to plans that don’t serve you or you know will not be good for you.
-Be clear with yourself in offering comfort and advice without getting wrapped up in drama.
– Get in touch with what you need to feel loved.
-How do you want to be communicated with?
-Decide what will you tolerate and not tolerate.
-Figure out how much time you need for yourself.
– Create transition barriers, so when you’re done with work what happens between being done with work and engaging with your partner. Figure out how you can transition in a way that supports you.
– What are areas where you know you need more structure, is that food, activity, alone time, self-care, figure that out and then create boundaries for yourself to support those.
– Healthy communication with the self comes first.
– Understand that you wont always hold up your boundaries all the time, work through why that is and if you’re okay with the concessions you make when you make them.
– Decide what ways you need to support your wellbeing and then make those your top priority.
Sometimes it’s hard to set boundaries for two simple reasons.
1) You’re not used to doing it so it feels uncomfortable.
2) You struggle with finding your voice or feeling you deserve to ask for what you need.
A great mantra to use in these cases if you’re struggling:
“I deserve to ask for what I need.”
Different iterations or versions of this could like “I deserve to voice my needs for my health.” or “It is safe for me ask for my needs to be respected.”
What happens when we find that our boundaries aren’t being respected?
We begin to understand where the edge of people’s respect and willingness to adjust to our needs are. It’s not comfortable. Is it necessary? Well, you’re the one to answer this.
This allows you to have a clear view of where your relationship with others are and perhaps that it’s going to take deeper levels of communication in order to have your wishes be respected. On the other hand you may find where you have to take action in order to implement. In the case of having space or alone time from your family, you may just need to go and create that space for yourself rather than asking for it.
It can feel overwhelming to think of all the ways you can support yourself by setting loving and clear boundaries. The end result though is far more freeing. The ability to live within a structure that supports your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health in various areas of your life.
If you’re just starting out and looking to see where you can implement, don’t try to go and do all of them all at once. Start with where you need them most. Start small and build you boundary muscle. Practice using and enforcing them where you need so you can work at getting confident with them. Then, where you need, continue to expand and find areas where you can support yourself more with them.
Use these as a tool to continue to support your self-care needs.
What boundaries are you going to set to better take care of yourself?