Fall is the season of boundaries. It’s a time when leaves fall to the ground, creating a bountiful environment for new growth in the spring. Similarly, there’s an almost palpable sense all around of turning inward: cozying up, paring down, and prepping for the winter months ahead. Not to mention, all of the back-to-school excitement and the many holidays on the horizon.
What does any of this have to do with boundaries? When life gets busy—as it so often does when we prepare for this shifting of seasons, both mentally and physically—we tend to put ourselves and our needs on the back burner.
But it’s at this precise moment—when the weather cools and autumn settles in—that we should really listen to what it is that our bodies need. It’s during these fall months of turning inwards and starting to naturally conserve for the coming winter months that we should let go of what no longer serves us.
Fall is all about boundaries.
Why Boundary-Setting Is Important for Health
Setting limits in life can be crucial for both long and short term health goals. A lack of boundaries can directly (and indirectly) impact how we eat, move, sleep, and manage stress.
Implementing boundaries, though, helps to put ourselves and our health needs at the forefront, like:
- The need for more sleep
- The need for self-care
- The need to focus on habit-building
- The need to quiet your mind before bed
- The need for better eating practices
- The need to move more
Creating boundaries based on things that are most important to us (our values) can help protect our habits, time, relationships, and overall well being. Our values, then, can serve as a compass in helping us to reach our ultimate ambitions.
How to Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries begins by knowing what your values and needs are.
- Values: What do I value? What is a non-negotiable in my life?
- Needs: What do I need to experience that value?
- Actions: What does it look like to respect that need? What happens if it’s not met?
Using health as a broad example, here’s how to map out a few boundaries:
- I value good health and healthspan. Health is non-negotiable for my ultimate wellbeing.
- In order to experience my best health, I need to prioritize good nutrition, movement, sleep, and calm.
- I will respect these needs by adding a major protein source to each meal, moving at least 30 minutes daily, winding down one hour before bed, and reserving Sunday as my day of solitude and rest.
Boundaries are about self-respect. They are also an act of self-care. Creating—and also knowing—your boundaries is having awareness of what is and is not serving you. Sometimes this comes at the risk of disappointing others, which is why so many people have trouble setting boundaries.
While continuing to learn your own boundaries, consider this:
Saying no to __________ means saying yes to __________ .
When you find yourself at the crossroads of choosing between your own needs and the needs of others, use this simple question as your guide. While you may be saying no to a friend’s needs, you may be saying yes to your own.
Remember, your energy is a finite (and valuable) resource. Protect it with boundary-setting.