How to set healthy boundaries to protect your mental wellness

As a recovering people-pleaser, I am no stranger to living a life without healthy boundaries. Over the past few years, I have really been working on being more true to myself and creating the life I want to live. While sometimes I’d like to think I can do it all, I really can’t and I honestly don’t want to.

If you’re like me and have found yourself stretched too thin doing things that aren’t helping you reach your goals, here are a few steps you can take to start regaining control of some of your most valuable resources: your time & happiness.

Decide what’s most important to you

Everybody’s different and we each have unique goals, dreams and priorities. It’s important to think about what’s most important to YOU. Grab a pen & paper and spend some time answering these questions:

  • What are your biggest goals?
  • How do you most enjoy spending your free time?
    • What areas of your life would you change if you could?
    • When you think of the future, what do you see yourself doing?

    Then, take it a step further and write down:

    • Anything that stands in the way of each goal
    • Everything that could help you achieve each goal

    Once you have this finished, I would recommend keeping it in a place where you will see it OFTEN as a reminder to yourself of where you want to go and what you need to do to get there!

    Communicate your needs

    Understanding our own boundaries is important and all, but what happens when you add in other people to the equation? We can only control ourselves and how we react to things, so it’s our job to communicate those boundaries to others. For example, if you planned an evening relaxing at home to unwind after a tough week, but you get invited to do something you don’t really want to do instead, you have every right to say “no thanks” or “not this time”.

    I will say, not feeling obligated to do things that I don’t want to do has been one of the most freeing revelations of my adult life. I find it easiest to address my boundaries in the moment in a respectful (but direct) way. In my personal experience, other people are often very understanding when I’m honest about my feelings. BUT, there are certainly times when someone will be disappointed or upset. And you know what? That’s not on you, my friend! It will get easier and less awkward the more you get used to having the conversation.

    Stay accountable

    Like most things, you have to be CONSISTENT for boundaries to become your new normal. It takes commitment, but it’s so important that once you set a boundary that you stick to it. You are truly the only one that is responsible for communicating what you need and then holding other people to it. And at the end of the day, you can find comfort in the fact that you are staying true to yourself no matter what.

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