Setting boundaries is essential to keeping our sanity. We wear so many hats as women these days and we are constantly getting pulled in a million directions that sometimes it feels like we may explode. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be learned and worked on like a muscle and is just as important as your morning workout. So what does setting a boundary look like and what is so damn important about setting them? Boundaries are like guard rails on the side of the road they help you and the others around you stay in the lane. Imagine a road with no speed limit, no boundaries, and people are just buzzing down the road at whatever speed and in no particular lane. That would be utter chaos! Quite often our world can feel out of control because we are not aware of what our personal boundaries are and how to set them with the people in our lives. Here are the 5 tips that I have learned about setting boundaries and being okay with it.
- Get to know yourself – Knowing who you are and what makes you tick may sound like an easy task, and for some people it is. For everyone else you may just feel like something is not working for you, and is driving you crazy but you can’t pinpoint the issue. When your life is feeling chaotic, get curious. This is a good time to identify what is happening that is making you feel like a crazy lady. One way to do this is to take ten minutes of quiet time and simply write a list. (Yes, you can find ten minutes) Is it the kids, your husband, your best friend, or work?
- What is one thing in your life you could say “no” to today? – Have you over extended yourself with commitments? Have you allowed your kids to do something that has been driving you nuts? Are you letting work spill over into your home life? Start small and pick one item that you can say “no” to today and that will free up some of your mental space and/or energy that you could use for something that brings you joy.
- Give yourself permission to give yourself a break – Yes, it is okay to make the rules you live by more lenient so that you can enjoy yourself for once. A good example of this is the laundry, it never, ever, ever, EVER ends, so give yourself permission to get into bed a little earlier and read a good book, write in a journal or take a quiet bubble bath with a glass of wine. (I opt for wine and baths over laundry quite often)
- Try different methods – You have to see what works for you. When setting boundaries that you have never set before, some people may be surprised with you being assertive. You do not need to go from zero to super bitch (unless warranted) to get what you need. You have to work on different ways of communicating with the people you need to establish boundaries with. When I first started “using my voice” as my husband Lou and I call it, it felt really uncomfortable. I was waiting for him to get mad or disappointed but he didn’t. I quickly realized that I can establish boundaries by communicating calmly, directly and being sure of what I need (refer back to step 1).
- Be realistic – Your family may freak out if you go on strike, so please go slow with these changes. Little changes can add up to big changes and one step at a time is a perfect way to collect your little wins until you start to feel like you again.
Live with Love and Grace