This morning I had a melt down. (Yes this does happen to life coaches too). It wasn’t a big one and considering how busy this last week has been, it was unsurprising. The primary cause was simple too many people needing too much from me. I know you can relate. There are some points in life where everyone seems to need help. It’s over loading. You of course want to help people, you are a nice person. However it’s possible that you can say yes a few to many times or even catch yourself helping before you have even agreed to it or even been asked. And when you are doing that for too many people you forget yourself and your own needs and priorities and that is when a melt down is on the horizon
In this week alone I have over 20 people I know who have requested my assistance outside of my work role, and something has got to give. It’s time for me to return to one my 2018 personal goals making and maintaining healthy boundaries quick!
So if you like me are feeling overstretched by all the people around you here is my guide to recentering and creating healthy boundries when you need them quickly.
If you don’t recenter within yourself you can’t make any decisions that are right for you. Take some away from everyone. Even if that means hiding in the bathroom at home or work with some headphones on. Take deep breaths. Try a meditation. A mindfulness body scan. Going to your happy place, physically or mentally. Take a walk or go to the gym. Step away from the social media. Simply reconnect with your body for a minimum of 5-10 mins, however that works for you.
Choose your interactions with people
There will somethings you cannot get out of. We all have responsibilities to other people we can not drop or are time specific right now. These are your priorities right now. Explain to anyone who does not fit into these two categories that you are simply not in a place able to help them at the moment. You don’t need to make a big long excuse. Just explain that your cup is too full right now and that it is not personal.
Find out how much you can give
You can only help someone to a certain point. What is that point? Truthfully. Decide what you can give and what your cannot. This is your boundary within your priorities. I have so much going on this week that I simply cannot do the house cleaning or spend a huge amount of time helping with a friend wedding crisis. I have stripped these things down to the minimum. A few hours dedicated to my friend and simplified the cleaning.
Ask for support
If you have two conflicting priorities that take up equal time and energy then you need help. So if you have a colleague who is struggling with preparing a presentation that affects your department and work life which means you have to stay late. And at the same time you have a child who needs you to support them at the next game in the same week. You need to call in some help. Can your partner or Mum feed your child and take them to the game so you can meet up later? Is there someone else in your department that can help you two so the work gets done quicker? Networks are there to help us so use them
Decide on the consequences ahead
So what do we do if anyone pushes our boundaries (because they will)? Decide what the consequences are before. I have a friend right now who has a project I really want to support however due to her inconsistent behaviour it is taking alot of my time and energy. Now I have set a boundary for how much and when I can help. If that gets broken I have decided on the consequences should she break our agreement. It has made me already feel more peaceful and focused.
Don’t apologise for setting boundaries
You don’t need to apologise for setting boundaries. Boundaries mean you are respecting yourself and the people around you. You don’t need to explain why or feel bad about not being there. You cannot give help when you don’t have the energy to take care of yourself. The people that really like and respect you will understand.
Say what you mean and mean it
Once you have set a boundary, communicate it clearly and follow through with it. You can have the most healthy set of boundaries on the planet but if you do not communicate them clearly, you are going to create some really confusing relationships. So walk your talk. And don’t change your boundaries because someone pressures you or gets offended. That is their stuff. My Mum had a really hard time respecting my boundary of not calling me during working hours when I work from home. However with respectful kind consistency she eventually got it. A sign on my home office door allows Mr T to know when to disturb me and when not to.
Stop getting drawn in
We are our worst enemies for getting drawn into other people’s situations at the cost of our own energy levels. Often someone who wants your help will reach out in a way that is not directly asking for it and we start to create opinions and jon the conversation. Before we know it we are helping. If you find a conversation with another person about a situation you have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with is affecting you emotionally, the chances are that you have gotten drawn in. Withdraw. Respectfully. Sometimes you can do this without clearly marking the boundary. Just by not responding. Sometimes you have to be more clear.
Find your energy bombs
Some friends and family are energy bombs. They just cheer up the world. The same with some activities. Some things just make us happy. When you feel that you are in need of creating boundaries you are also in need of energy. Dedicate a little time to giving yourself the boost of energy you need.
These techniques are something you have to practise and are the quick fix to creating boundaries. Some of these principals do also work in creating more permanent boundaries however I can highly recommend doing some google fu when you have the time and energy and reassess the boundaries you create or need to create in your life. Setting boundaries is a powerful way to practise both self love and respect. And we all need a little bit more of that!
Have a great week <3