Let’s talk boundaries. They’re the most beautiful gift we can give ourselves, and also the most difficult.
Why? Because setting boundaries means putting our own emotional peace, margin, and mental health ahead of what everyone else in your life is asking of you.
….. Which can be really, really (really!) hard. For women, I’ve noticed especially so, as innate nurturers, caretakers & uplifters of others, as moms, wives, aunties, sisters and friends— we often take on an unintentional “them first” stance, putting our own care and desires and health second.
I’ll speak for myself when I say it has sometimes felt more natural to put my family’s needs above my own, or to not honor my emotions or feelings because it meant potentially making someone else feel uncomfortable. As a empath, a feeler, and an enneagram 2, those are my natural inclinations, no matter the situation.
It’s taken some true awareness and the decision to prioritize my own inner peace FIRST, so that I can actually help and be of MORE service to those I love, and to those around me. That’s the equation most of us never get taught.
We’re told to put everyone else, their priorities and needs, before ours, and then make do with whatever leftover scraps of time we have to try and fill our own cups. You’re thought of as a kind person, a good person, a caring and loving person if you do so.
But the reality of it? The truth? All that actually does is make you bitter, resentful, exhausted, burnt out and stressed out. And not in a position to truly listen, to love others patiently, to take care of them deeply, to take care of yourself deeply, etc. And not your best self— the one that YOU and THEY deserve.
There is no margin in your life for growth, expansion, and feeling full in your soul if every part of you is given out first, and there are no leftovers.
Some of you may not agree with me. That’s fine. What I’m saying goes against the grain of everything we’re taught and conditioned.
But doing so has changed my life for the better— it’s changed my calendar, the time I have for the things that actually matter in my life (including growth, time for myself, time for my health, etc), its changed my marriage and changed how I view and operate in motherhood. I refuse to be the victim. Or to be exhausted and burnt out or resentful because I didn’t set up energetic boundaries.
It’s something we can control, and can implement, at any time.
And that’s what makes boundaries so powerful, and so peaceful— that they might not always feel comfortable, but they have the capacity to protect us on so many levels. Our heart and spirit, our physical body, our mental capacity and emotional health.
Yes, at first it might not be the most natural thing—you might feel a little guilty or be tempted to give in “just this once”…… but it does get easier. And it can free up so much space in your life that can be used to fill you (and others up) around you.
So today, I want to share 5 boundaries today you can easily set (like, today!) for more time, ease and peace in your life.
Think of it as self-care in its highest form, because that’s truly what GOOD boundaries are.
5 boundaries you can easily set:
1. Audit your screen time.
Start simply with turning your phone off or into airplane mode at 8pm. This is so healthy for so many parts of you: your hormones, anxiety, sleep, mindset and nervous system. The body needs time to “detox” from being in reaction mode and intaking mode all day long. Let it go into its more natural state of simply being rather than responding, interacting and viewing 100 things at once.
You can also set personal boundaries for social media and email, if you use it. This is so healthy to protect against “task switching” in the brain, endless hours lost by mindless scrolling and distraction from what’s important overall.
My suggestion? Have certain times of day you set to check both. Set a timer if needed. Get in, do what you need to do, then get out. The constant checking/refreshing/scrolling is such an energy suck on your brain, mentality and overall vibration.
2. Think about your consumption of technology overall.
What do YOU want it to look like? Curate and be protective about who you allow into your energy field. That means who you follow online, how people are able to contact you and when, what you allow to influence you. What sources, people and things help you be a better person when you consume them? On the flip side, which ones do the opposite?
Take an inventory. Choose your top 5 people, things or resources that are a positive influence on your life and give the rest a pause for a bit. (Things to look at: people you follow on social media, TV shows you watch, newsletters you subscribe to, etc. etc.)
See how you feel after taking a week or two off from so many technology outlets. You might find that keeping up with so much doesn’t really add value to your life and was more draining than you would have thought.
3. Practice saying no (without apologizing, guilt or shame). Own your space and own your life.
With every new request of your time, practice saying no if your body, mind and heart are saying no (see last week’s blog post for more on this). If someone is asking something of you or you feel “obligated” to do something, do a quick body scan to see if you feel expanded or contracted when the request comes in. Your body will give you the answer, if you let it.
If the answer’s no, say so with grace, but without apologizing. You are in control of your time, space and energy. You’re NOT in control of other people’s reactions. Saying no graciously is better than saying yes and not being all in.
4. Create space for you-time, every single day.
I don’t know if you’re a mama, an entrepreneur, or have a hundred things on your plate. Regardless, it’s vital to set aside time each day (even if it’s 5 minutes) for some you-time or quiet time— time to check in with yourself. Ask yourself what you need more of that day or week and what you need less of. And then do it.
I know every day feels like a big commitment, but truly, how much time do you spend making sure everyone else has everything they need each day? Asking the same of yourself is vital to your overall wellbeing and I’d argue, more important than checking in with everyone else.
5. Check in on how you’re feeling before you sit down to eat.
Just do a quick, 1-minute (or less) body and mind scan. Where are your emotions at? What’s happening around you? What noises do you hear? Is your nervous system amped up or relaxed?
So many outside factors can affect how you consume and digest your food, so if you find yourself a little rattled or frantic, take 3 deep breaths and remember to take those breaths as you eat, too. This is a great way to practice setting a boundary that food is a sacred time for your body, and all else can wait even a few extra minutes.
Another beautiful boundary? Saying no to these things.
Grab this amazing checklist of 18 Things to Stop Doing, to get your time, energy and vibrance back!
And psssst- our annual, life-changing, Simply Real Life program is opening again at the end of April! Get on the waitlist here if you want to be the first to know when it opens, get access to a very special SALE price on the program, and get your hands on some amazing resources to help you get started on you journey to a truly healthy lifestyle that lasts (without the all of nothing mentalities).
Megan T. says
These 5 boundaries are really helpful. I am a natural people pleaser, but it’s been weighing on me! I’m learning how to set boundaries and be better at saying NO. Thank you for this post.
Thank you for this. Would love to hear what and when specifically you get to #4. Need some more guidance to take up space!
Sarah Adler of Simply Real Health says
For me the easiest time is when the babies are asleep – either in the morning or at night after they’re in bed! Little things, like a few minutes journaling, stretching, taking a bath, reading, etc. Small things that make YOU feel good!