HOW TO SET Better boundaries
Anyone else feel like the phrase ‘boundaries’ is trending? There’s always a new self-care / self-help focus that everyone’s talking about and all I’m hearing about lately is boundaries. Which got me thinking about my own.
To me, having boundaries means that you know when to let people / events / commitments into your life, and more importantly, when to NOT let them into your life. For the most part, I feel like I’ve conquered boundaries as an adult but there’s always room for improvement. Here are my thoughts on boundaries + what I do to respect my own:
+ Wait to respond
Anyone who has my cell number will tell you that I’m bad at texting, but I disagree. In fact, if I think about it from a boundaries perspective, I’m actually really good at text boundaries.
Yes, it might mean I’m not always quick to respond but that’s because I’m choosey about when and how I respond. Everyone thinks they deserve a response (or need to give one) within a matter of minutes these days and IMO, that’s not realistic or healthy. Sometimes I get texts but I’m focused on filming, writing a blog post, or am with the kids, so I won’t respond. Sometimes I get texts but I’m scrolling IG and having me time, and I won’t respond right away. Sometimes texts I get are unnecessary or don’t necessarily need a response, so I don’t respond…ever. Which is OKAY!
This doesn’t mean I don’t care about the person texting me or what they’re saying, it means I have boundaries. I like to reply to text messages when I want to, when I have the time, and when I’m not trying to be present with my family. 99.9% of the time, a text can wait until you’re at peace to respond. If it’s an emergency, they’ll call.
Try waiting to respond, whether it’s a text or email or whatever until you’re in the right mindset to respond. Or if you can’t help yourself, turn on Airplane mode so that you’re not tempted. This not only helps your peace of mind but sets up boundaries around when / how you respond. It also trains people to know that they can’t expect an immediate response from you (which I think is healthy!).
+ Get comfortable with saying ‘no’
Saying ‘yes’ out of habit or guilt is probably the number one reason why boundaries are broken. I definitely fall for this, especially with the guilt part, but I’m usually able to say ‘no’ without feeling bad about it. Especially if I break down the honest reason behind why I need to say no. For example, ‘I’d love to attend but it’s important for me to put my kids to bed at night, so I can’t make it. Hope the event is a success!’ Or, ‘This sounds like a great opportunity. I’m unfortunately feeling overwhelmed with my commitments right now so I’ll have to pass, but I’d love to stay in touch.’
+ Learn your boundaires
If you have no clue whether you have boundaries or not, learn about them. Lauryn from The Skinny Confidential podcast had a boundaries expert on her show a while back so I’m linking that episode here. That guest is the author of this book which walks you through difficult boundary conversations, how to deal with setting your boundaries, etc.
+ Voice them
I’m not great at voicing my feelings but I will speak up if I feel like my boundaries are being violated. Last year, I felt like I was getting requests from my team via calls, texts, voice notes, DMs, emails, etc. and it was too much. It felt overwhelming and like everywhere I turned, work was waiting. I spoke up and set some specific boundaries around work (like ‘please email me with requests or questions instead of text’) and it was as easy as that. If someone on my team had the same request, you better believe I’d respect their boundaries.
I’m sure we all have blurred boundaries with work, especially since most jobs don’t end when you ‘leave the office’. I suggest setting up boundaries so that your team / boss / whoever knows when and how to reach you (within reason, of course). Certain people I work with even put their availability in their email signature so it’s a clear reminder of their own boundaries. You can also set offline notifications on most communication platforms like Slack or whatever, so utilize those.
Obviously, some boundaries are more sensitive than others. For example, in-laws or your parents stopping by unannounced 5x a week or a bitchy boss who thinks she owns your life. These cases will probably require you to write out the WHY behind your request for a boundary…and things might be awkward. But in the end, most of these convos are never as bad as we assume them to be. Be assertive and kind, and if they don’t understand, that’s on them.
+ Get alone time
As a mom of young kids, I have zero physical boundaries in my life, which I LOVE at times, and it’s also overwhelming AF. There are days when I don’t shower, go to the bathroom, or sit alone for even 5 minutes. Add in Paul being needy and I will literally feel touched out physically. When I feel like this, I know I need alone time ASAP, so I try to work it into the following day. There’s something about being alone and no one needing you physically for even 30 minutes that can seriously help.
+ Trust your gut
I’m huge on following my intuition or gut in all situations, and it can help with boundaries. Whether you’re questioning if you’re the one overstepping on someone’s boundaries OR if someone is overstepping yours, your gut usually knows what’s up.
Do you have set boundaries in your life?