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Boundaries are Self-Care

We often talk about self-care in our blog and what that looks like in practice. Self-care is basically taking time to refuel yourself and your systems. It is not selfish. It is essential. You are the only you that you have. If you do not take care of yourself, you cannot take care of anyone or anything else. It is that simple period. Self-care is crucial to your journey. Take the time you need. 

In many of our self-care blogs, we discuss healthy eating, taking time with nature, spending time reading a book, watching a movie and any number of other things that you might enjoy and that bring you peace.

Today, we are going to discuss something that may be uncomfortable or challenging when thinking about taking care of yourself. That is the topic of boundaries. It’s perfectly OK to set them and it’s healthy to do so. 

Boundaries are a form of self-care – it’s a way to prioritize your needs and owning your well-being. Consider boundaries as another way to take good care of yourself. They protect us – emotionally, spiritually, and physically. When we use boundaries, we allow what serves us well into our lives while keeping the things that do not serve us or may even harm us out of our lives. 

“A boundary is something that keeps you safe and comfortable in your relationships,” says Nedra Glover Tawwab, therapist and author of Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself.

What comes to mind when you hear that quote? 

Take a moment to consider what you might need to keep you comfortable and safe in your relationships. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. It’s your self-care and what you need right now at this moment. 

So, what are healthy boundaries? Healthy boundaries allow you to express yourself authentically with others and to talk openly and honestly about your feelings and your experiences. They allow you to say no to the things that do not serve you well. They allow you to address any issues with people directly and succinctly. 

Examples of healthy boundaries

  • Saying no to what you don’t want and yes to what you do want
  • Asking for help and reaching out for help
  • Treating yourself with respect and asking for respect in return
  • Taking ownership of your life – day to day activities, running of household, finances, social life for example
  • Owning your feelings and allowing them to be without judgment
  • Stating your needs and asking for what you need
  • Being your authentic self – without explaining or apologizing. 
  • Prioritizing taking good care of you and your own time 
  • Exploring your preferences and knowing it’s ok to change them as you move forward
  • Not playing into the blame game, not blaming yourself or others.
  • If something doesn’t feel right, makes you uncomfortable speaking up and/or removing yourself

Boundary setting is work and a lifelong process. With practice it can become easier. We’ve written a how to set boundaries checklist to help you set and keep them in this article. 

When keeping healthy boundaries, it is likely to get push back from others. They may not understand or know how to react to your boundary. They may even become insistent to getting their way. This is normal and you may want to prepare how you’re going to restate your boundary and stay firm.  It is OK for you to take care of yourself and set your own parameters. Remember that when people push back.

If setting boundaries is new to you, those around you may not understand the “new” you. It is OK. You are moving forward and part of that is taking care of you so that you can do what you need for yourself and others. Keeping the boundaries you set may be unfamiliar to both you and those around you; however, practicing and using healthy boundaries will become easier as you continue to use them in your life.

If you are having difficulty in identifying what boundaries you need to establish, you can start with a list of things in your life. Then, place these items into two separate categories. What works for you? What doesn’t? Once you have identified what doesn’t work for you, think about what boundaries are needed to minimize or remove these items from your life. Then you can set your own list of life rules that you will maintain to take care of you, your peace and your well-being.

Remember this is a process and it’s part of self-care. It can be uncomfortable at first and remember to take good care of you.

When setting and holding firm, remember to celebrate! You’re taking good care of you and doing boundary work! That’s hard work! Take radical good care of you! 

Peace & blessings,
Jeni & Teresa

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