Monthly Focus, Week 3: Tips for Sticking to Your Boundaries

Monthly Focus, Week 3: Tips for Sticking to Your Boundaries

Week 3

September is all about Boundaries.
This week, learn how to set and stick to your boundaries for the rest of the year.

The dog days of summer are winding down while work is beginning to pile up in preparation for the coming winter months; kids are going back to school and all the season’s holidays are on the horizon. But as our calendars begin to swell with commitments, September is the time to recommit to boundaries.

For those of us living with a chronic condition, firming up boundaries can mean finding freedom within.

Humans make hundreds of choices daily. Those of us living with something like diabetes, hypertension, or any other chronic condition make upwards of thousands. The quality of those decisions is paramount for not just our health, but also our wellbeing.

Those moments when someone asks you to do something that you know won’t be beneficial to your health or won’t get you closer to your goals are the moments when boundaries shine. When we dare to set boundaries, we have the courage to wholly respect and nurture ourselves, even at the risk of disappointing others.

But boundary-setting is not an easy task. In fact, it can often seem intimidating. As we move forward into fall, here are a few tips that can guide you in the coming season.

Appreciate your priorities

Take some time to write a list of your priorities and compare it to where you spend your time and energy. Then, determine whether or not you are honoring those priorities. Choose to let go of those things on your list that are not providing nourishment.

Learn to be aware

In the same way our bodies alert us to a high blood sugar, they can also give signals when we near a personal boundary. If you feel your chest tighten or fists clench, tune in; maybe you’ll feel a sensation in your stomach or throat. Whatever your signal, listen to what your body is trying to tell you. Take time to explore the discomfort and honor your body’s inherent boundary.

Try it out

Imagine what it would be like to set a boundary in a given situation that is begging for boundaries. What happens? What does it feel like? Are you scared? Empowered? Maybe you even feel relief. Go into as much detail as you can. Then, write it down. Spending time in this thought experiment can help better prepare you for future situations.

Give yourself permission

Give yourself permission to say no. When you do, it benefits everyone: you offer your truth, rather than hiding behind walls and secretly building resentment. Be sure to give yourself the option to say “no” however you like. Simply say no and be done with it; say no, thank you; say no, that doesn’t work for me. However you choose to say it, be accepting of your decision.

Once you take the time to choose your own boundaries, embrace them. Find what works for you. Don’t follow a path, stick with a plan, or convince yourself to agree with something unless the rest of you is giving you an affirmative nod to do so.