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Creating Healthy Boundaries

Boundaries is a word that we hear a lot in today’s world of mental health. Yet do we truly understand what it means to create healthy boundaries? What is a necessary boundary for one person may be different for another as each person’s boundaries for what is healthy for them vary, based on their personality, upbringing and overall well-being.

Boundaries are about learning to say ‘no’ when you really do not want to do something but often say ‘yes’ because you feel obligated to do it. For example, one time I was asked to create and plan a bunch of games for a birthday party that I was attending. I was in the middle of writing a big paper for my Master’s Degree, working full-time and had a new baby. I felt really bad saying I could not do it and the person who asked me to was pretty passive aggressive when I said no I had too much on my plate. Yet I did stick to what was true for me even though the other person was upset, at that point in time I needed to take care of what was already on my plate, not add more to it. No matter how the other person reacted, that was on them and not my responsibility. It was probably one of the first times I my life that I started setting healthy boundaries around my time.

If you are a “people pleaser” you probably struggle with setting boundaries for yourself because you do not want to upset anyone else. Here is the thing, you cannot offer water from an empty cup. So you need to ensure you are taking care of you, first and foremost, then you will have the full-capacity to help others. In my children’s book, “I am Empathetic,” it teaches kids about what empathy is and how we can be empathetic towards others. It also covers how even when we are showing empathy to others we need to be aware of our own boundaries and ensure that we are “self-full” first so that we truly can hold space for another person. I believe it is important to teach kids how to set healthy boundaries for themselves.

In this day and age it is essential for kids to learn to set healthy boundaries around their time, especially on their ‘devices.’ There are multi-billion dollar companies behind social media who are all competing for your attention. Social media is designed to keep people on the platform for as much time as possible. So learning to set healthy boundaries around time on technology is an essential skill.

Do you set boundaries around your time, space, who you associate with? Take a few moments to think about areas of your life that you may need to set a boundary with. Maybe you really want to start going to the gym yet your friends or spouse or kids are preventing you from going because they want your time. How could you set a boundary around your need to get some exercise a few times a week. Maybe you realize that you need to set some boundaries for yourself around the time you are spending on social media. Could you set the time limits on your phone so you are more aware of the time you are on it? If the time limit goes off then ensure you honor your boundary and stay off it for the remainder of the day.

My challenge for you this week is to take some time to think about an area of your life that needs a healthy boundary and stick with it for an entire week. Then notice how you begin to feel more fulfilled and energized when you begin to set healthy boundaries for yourself.

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