It’s a common problem for so many women and men – not having set boundaries, or not sticking to them.
When women (or indeed men) find themselves feeling irritable, tired, exhausted, unable to focus, unconfident and so on – it is very often the case that they are feeling that way, because they have not set and kept to boundaries.
This is a growing and HUGE problem – women have multitudes of roles that they have to fulfil today. It seems that more and more is demanded of us. We have to fulfil any or all of the roles of:-mother, partner, daughter, sister, friend, colleague, neighbour, boss, employee, house keeper/home maker, cook, cleaner, bottle washer, shopper, book keeper and I dare say I’ve left out many more!
Our mobile technology ie mobile phones and other computer devices means that there is almost no moment where we cannot be contacted or in demand! Our lives are now totally 24/7 and 365 days per year. That is the case – UNLESS we set boundaries and keep to them!
Why should we set boundaries?
UNLESS we set BOUNDARIES – we will burn out, get seriously sick, become less and less competent, so frazzled that all our most valuable relationships will suffer and we will have zero time to even look to see how we can change it all and get in control of our life, health, effectiveness, happiness and general well-being.
Boundary setting is an URGENT PRIORITY! The way you feel, and the way you react, perhaps getting sick are the demonstrable symptoms of the impact of not setting boundaries and managing the way you think. What is not visible is the hidden impact of stress on your body. Silent inflammation which happens at all times is accelerated significantly with the impact of stress and is linked to immune dysfunction, hormone dysfunctions, weight gain, degenerative diseases, ageing, cancers and more.[How to manage the root causes of stress]
Can we set boundaries?
Of course, IT IS EASY TO CHANGE this – all it requires is for you to do something different. If you do one thing/respond in one particular way, you can just as easily do something different. What requires effort, is making that choice to become fully aware of what you have been doing, how you have been thinking, how you have been reacting, and the actions you have been taking so that you have choice.
The reason you have got caught up in these unhealthy patterns of living and responding to life events is because women have often been raised and taught to please and to not confront. It is likely that you will also have copied others because at some point you admired them/what they did/how they responded. Over time the behaviours of pleasing and accommodating others has become your default setting – a deep habit that you simply unconsciously do. [Do men and women really react to stress differently]
When you start becoming aware of the discomfort, you are becoming aware that something is not right – perhaps specifically that the way you are managing ‘you’ is no longer a right fit for you. So ‘discomfort’ is the perfect time for you to make change. Discomfort is USEFUL, as long as you choose to recognise it as the indicator that you now need to DO SOMETHING BETTER/DIFFERENT.
TIPS for setting your boundaries:-
Develop Awareness of your current behaviours and triggers
- Become aware of the situations that result in you becoming irritable, ineffective, feeling unworthy or unvalued, feeling not good enough, comfort eating, comfort spending etc.
- Using a monthly life, event and hormone calendar could be very useful with becoming aware of the patterns of response that you may have. You can use the digital organisers and calender to track these patterns.
- Make a list of the situations that cause you to feel uncomfortable, then consider and write down what you would have preferred to happen. How differently could you have responded? Could you have responded in a different way – earlier? THIS IS WHERE YOU GET TO SEE WHAT YOU WANT IN YOUR LIFE, WHAT STANDARDS AND VALUES YOU HAVE FOR YOUR LIFE.
Construct and Rehearse Alternative responses to Previous Trigger Situations
- If there are situations that have happened often and you have typically responded in ways that you wish you had managed more effectively – practice saying what you would like to say in a good calm way.
- If you find that you are the person in your household that is doing the majority of the household tasks – take the time to do an itinerary of all the tasks that have to be done and ask for the other members of your household who are able to share them, to take ownership for specific tasks – specify what needs to be done and when, and tell that person that you will remind them to do their tasks.
Time to think, time set out what you do want in your life
- Schedule your own boundaries – no phone / computer time after 9pm until 8am the next day.
- Begin setting your own goals and intentions – what it is that you want to achieve / do /have done within a year/ five years etc. Then set a time each week (perhaps a Sunday evening) to sit with your partner, or just by yourself – to write out the priorities for your week, schedule them through the week, add in 3 actions for the week that are towards your goal(s) – be realistic and space those three actions through your week.
- Then during your week when you get asked to be involved with something – ask yourself is this in line with your priorities or not – if not be comfortable in saying ‘no’.
Set new Standards for you!
- Learn to breathe deeply many times in your day (breathing is something we take for granted and often do very shallowly when stressed) If you get into a pattern that you breathe deeply even just for 2 breaths before you respond in all situations – not only do you become better oxygenated but also it gives you time to think how you want to respond, rather than merely ‘reacting’.
- Become aware of the language you use when you say anything to yourself – choose only positive language and think in terms of what you want, rather than what you don’t. Learn to speak more slowly to yourself – that way everything slows down. [The statements that can ruin your life]
- Make sure that you eat healthily, drink plenty of lemon water, and exercise at least 3x per week even for just 20 minutes, no electronic gadgets near your bed and get daily good sleep.
Have fun with this – before you start, write a letter to yourself about how your life has been in every way, put the letter in an envelope and write the date across the seal, and then put it in the back of a drawer. Now implement the change you want to see and in 3 months write another letter about how your life is in 3 months time, seal it and put it away and then read your first letter to see what has changed. An alternative is to send it in our time machine, which will give you useful questions to answer and will remind you with an email to keep you on track.
Life is a journey of self discovery. We are each and every one of us ‘a work in progress’. Hopefully we will keep learning and progressing until the day we leave this mortal coil. There is no failure, only feedback about how we can improve. Take moments every day to stop and see the grass grow – life is wonderful!