Boundaries are powerful. They protect us and our energy. Boundaries are the limits and expectations we set up for ourselves and others.
Setting them up can feel daunting and scary. Your feelings are valid.
You still deserve to be a priority in your own life! Boundaries help with this.
Here are 13 ways to level up the boundaries in your life:
N to the O
Say no to things that don’t bring you joy. Embrace your inner 2 year old and practice saying “no” to things you don’t enjoy.
If saying no feels too hard in the moment, that’s okay. Try out, “I’ll think about it and get back to you.”
Educators are often people pleasers with generous hearts. You don’t have to say yes to everything. In fact, saying no gives you more space for the activities that make your heart happy as well as self care and rest.
Take time to think about what makes you feel sparkly and grateful. How can you add/encourage more of that in your life?
What makes you feel drained and haggard? How can you minimize that in your life?
There are no right or wrong answers. Only what works for you 💙✨
If it is helpful you can make a physical list of these things and keep them nearby to refer to when you’re thinking of committing to something. See if it’s on your draining list and decide if it’s truly worth it.
Self care for me, please
Make a self care menu. Write a list (maybe even decorate, color code, draw and/or doodle on it to make it fun and festive) of all the activities that help rejuvenate you.
Put it somewhere you can see it easily and frequently. When we feel overwhelmed/exhausted, it can be too hard to think of things to do to reboot in the moment. This menu can help!
It can also help you to set boundaries by making you set boundaries with yourself. Commit to not short changing your well-being over others by honoring this boundary with yourself.
Schedule self care
You can also use your self care menu for putting self care on your calendar. If you like to look forward to a specific activity – you can add luxurious bath to your calendar.
If you’re more of a decide in the moment type – you can schedule an hour of self care and decide what suits you in the moment. Make sure you’ve got multiple times for self care through your the week and try for at least one self care activity a day.
Remember: self care activities are plans! You can say no to something with a simple: “I have plans.” Taking a bath or reading a book is a plan, and it is super fair for you to honor that plan for yourself.
Who needs that bye bye bye
Don’t put effort into relationships that aren’t fulfilling. If you notice a particular person is really draining your energy and patience (or if you’re putting in all the effort)- try taking a step back.
Sometimes, people are with us for parts of our journey, as we grow our paths diverge. That’s okay.
It can be painful to say goodbye, but think of what new, fulfilling relationships could be around the corner. We deserve balanced relationships that support our authentic selves.
Not just people need a scoot out of our lives. Activities and groups that you have in your life that are no longer fulfilling can be shown the door as well.
Got a book club that’s become a little toxic? Leave it. Not feeling your current gym anymore? Switch to another one if you want. It’s ok to have high standards and good boundaries with all the things we allow in our lives.
Practice. Test out different suggestions and adjust to what works for you.
Also, certain strategies might work with some people and situations and not well with others. That’s okay.
Cater your boundaries to you and your needs. Let them ebb and flow with you as you learn and grow.
Set social media limits
Social media can spark community and connection. It can also prompt us to playing the detrimental comparison game and usurp much of our downtime unintentionally.
It’s fine to enjoy some time on social media. Setting duration limits or how many times you log in each day can help you be intentional about your social media item. That way, you can use it in a way that’s beneficial and supportive to you and your priorities.
Seriously, savor some time with friends and loved ones. Have fun and supportive social outlets can energize and uplift us.
Consider how much you enjoy socializing (are you an introvert/extrovert) and plan accordingly. It’s good to unwind and connect with your besties.
These people are your boundary allies (or they should be!). It helps immensely to talk to others about some struggles you have protecting your boundaries or setting new ones. They can help you make plans, find new strategies or just hear you.
No matter what a happy hour (with or without alcohol) with your nearest and dearest can keep you charged enough to tend those boundary fences.
Take a deep breath before responding
Taking a moment and a breath can help immensely. This allows us to check in with ourselves before responding / deciding and also can help us identify if we’re being triggered.
Often, we respond out of muscle memory / habit and not always with what we truly want to do. Slowing down and giving yourself a moment to absorb let’s you decide – is this truly something I want to do?
What do you already have on your plate?
Look at how full your plate is – sometimes an event sounds fabulous and is something you would truly enjoy, but you already have too many things that day/week.
Make sure you’re not overcrowding your calendar. You can’t enjoy your activities if all of them add up to be overwhelming. Maybe decline the latest invite or change your mind about something you’ve previously agreed to.
Change your mind, change your plans
Which brings me to – It’s totally okay to change your mind. Things happen and stuff comes up.
Just because you’ve given a yes, doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to change your mind with new information. It’s fine to let someone know you are no longer able to make it.
If the people and things in your life are worth having there, they will understand.
Be gentle with yourself in this process
You are learning and growing. Tend to yourself and your boundaries like a beloved new seedling.
It’s okay to bend and sway as you learn. Strive for authenticity and forgive yourself for any perceived missteps along the way.
You are brave and resilient! You have so much to be proud of yourself for!
If people are trying to manipulate or use you – there are often signs. Usually, they will tell on themselves.
They may not even be conscious they are doing it, but sometimes there are people in your life who can convince you to do things you don’t want to.
Tactics like using coercive language such as: “if you loved me you’d…” or “the least you can do for me is…” are often hard to stand up to, but remember that people who love you won’t try to overstep your boundaries. They won’t try to push you to be uncomfortable or unhappy for their sake.
As you suspect / realize this, stop putting energy and effort into these interactions / relationships. You deserve better!
Which boundary tip are you going to try first?
Let us know in the comments below ⬇️