7 Proven Ways To Conquer Overwhelm Through Healthy Boundaries
Part of exercising self-love is creating healthy boundaries with all our relationships.
“ I allow myself to set healthy boundaries. To say no to what doesn’t align with my values. To say yes to what does. Boundaries assist me to remain healthy, honest and living a life that is true to me. ” ~ Brene Brown
Anytime in life when I allowed others to cross the line with me, I was showing them it was okay to overstep and treat me poorly.
CAREGIVING BOUNDARY EXAMPLE IN ACTION
When I was taking care of my parents and they lived with us, I felt so bad for them because they went from living independently in their own home to living with their grand-kids and me with their ‘things’ being confined to a room plus all their medical equipment.
My parents; especially my dad, were hoarders. Their personal household things were in their primary residence, TWO other empty homes (except with their ‘stuff’), and THREE huge storage rooms. Going through all of this was extremely overwhelming on top of taking care of them on a daily basis. I really did feel bad for them. I couldn’t imagine being them and not having their things with them.
When we moved them into our four bedroom home, we didn’t have ‘extra’ space. However, we consolidated rooms and gave them the dining room. Although there was no privacy in this room, it was the largest of the rooms for them. This room was the center of the home and our kitchen was a natural extension of the room. It became easy for my parents to extend their space to include the kitchen counters, dining room table and the office. Suddenly, their stuff was everywhere!
“ Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.” ~ Brene Brown
I realized that they weren’t doing this to annoy me. This was their way of being and they didn’t realize what it was doing to me. One day, I sat them down and explained how I was feeling and we set boundaries. My parents respected my boundaries and did MUCH better after this. This experience taught me that no matter how bad I felt for them, I was treating myself poorly by allowing this behavior in my home.
PARENTING BOUNDARY EXAMPLE IN ACTION
As a parent, one thing that really challenged my patience and boundaries was the last minute, “Mom, I need to get x,y, and z at the store for a project.” Usually, the project was due the next day and they knew about it weeks in advance. After a few times of allowing their urgency to become my priority, I created a “nuisance fee” and wouldn’t you know their planning improved!
Here are 7 tips for establishing boundaries to maintain your well-being and sanity:
First Way To Create Healthy Boundaries
Respect yourself enough to set boundaries that are true to you. This could be anything from your personal space to when you’ll accept phone calls to how late you’ll stay out to…anything! I created a 2018 non-negotiables list I’ve included in my self-care practices this year. You can check that out here for some ideas.
Second Way To Create Healthy Boundaries
Remember that NO is a complete sentence! I recognize the thought of just saying “no” to recovering people pleasers can lead to anxiety. Here are some alternatives to saying no. My challenge for you is to find something… anything on your calendar that you said yes to that you really don’t want to do and say no. You might feel bad at first but saying no will get easier and I promise you’ll feel more empowered!
Third Way To Create Healthy Boundaries
Ask for what you need. Be specific. People won’t know what you need unless you ask. People don’t read minds and the clearer you can be about what you need, the more likely you’ll be to get it. Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength and self-compassion.
Fourth Way To Create Healthy Boundaries
Stop taking on responsibility for others. This includes things like making phone calls for other people, making appointments for them, keeping the peace among people, allowing someone’s crisis to be your crisis (see #7 below). There are so many ways we can take responsibility for others. I encourage you to look at this and see where this may be showing up for you.
Fifth Way To Create Healthy Boundaries
Don’t let who you are be up for debate! Whatever you do, make sure everything you say and do is in line with your values. Here’s another boundaries article that includes my manifesto. My manifesto includes my values in a fun and creative way.
Sixth Way To Create Healthy Boundaries
Create consistent non-negotiable self-care practices. When my kids were young, I started meditating. This was my ‘mommy time’ and they quickly learned not to interrupt. They also learned that I was a more patient and loving mother when I meditated. This also taught them that self-care is a priority. As adults, they have created their own sacred self-care time. Kids may listen to the words you speak but they watch what you do and THAT is more powerful.
Seventh Way To Create Healthy Boundaries
Create boundaries and consequences for your kids/family. Using the above example about school projects, after a few times of their crisis becoming my urgency, we implemented nuisance fees. I’ve been asked how my fee structure worked. Fees ranged from $5 – $20 depending on their age and when they gave me notice. If I was already home, cooking dinner or had changed (aka had my bra off -please tell me you can relate – lol), the fee was on the higher end of the scale. If they didn’t have the money, we discussed what projects they would do around the house to make the money and identified a completion date before we went to the store. It’s an interesting thing when one sibling sees another struggle. They quickly learn not to do what their sibling did or at least they didn’t do it as much. Planning became a higher priority for them. Go figure.
BONUS PARENTING BOUNDARY TIP
- It prepared them for high school and college research papers.
- It required them to learn something about their topic and integrate it into their life.
- It allowed them to learn from their mistakes so they didn’t repeat the circumstance.
- By giving them the freedom to dictate how long it took to complete the essays (in most circumstances), they knew that was how long they’d also be without friends, outings, or sleepovers.
Remember, having a lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect. Respect yourself enough… LOVE yourself enough… to create boundaries! In doing so, you are saying YES to your happiness and well-being and NO to stress, overwhelm, and bad habits. After all, our habits dictate overall life success. Make sure your habits serve your highest good.Remember, having a lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect. Respect yourself enough… LOVE yourself enough… to create boundaries! Click To Tweet
It’s Your Turn: I’d love to know what your biggest challenge is when it comes to creating and maintaining healthy boundaries. Comment below and I may address your specific issue in a future article or podcast.