• The Hopefulist

Setting Boundaries

It's a tough time in our country right now with so much division. It makes it hard to figure out where lines need to be drawn when it comes to discussing certain things. Setting boundaries is one thing that can help in these situations. The thing to keep in mind about boundaries is that you have to set them for yourself. You don't set them for others because that doesn't work very well. When you tell someone you don't want them to do something they are more inclined to want to do just that thing.

It's especially hard when members of your family think differently about the way things are then you do. So there are a number of things you can do. You can tell people ahead of time that you don't want to discuss politics. That you would love to see them and spend time with them but if they bring it up then you will let them know that you won't discuss it. And if they try then you are fully within your rights to leave or ask them to leave. You set the ground rules beforehand and they agreed to them. Or if you want to be less confrontational just try to change the subject to something more pleasant.

But the need to set boundaries is something that is necessary in all aspects of your life. When it comes to your home life, relationships, work, hobbies, friendships and even yourself. You need to decide for yourself what you will do and not do when it comes to balancing your life.

For example, when it comes to home/work like balance you have to set a boundary as to when you will focus on work and when it's time to go home. You have to make it known to your employer that you can work late occasionally when needed but the majority of time you need to leave at the appointed time. Once you let them start taking advantage of your kindness in staying here and there they will continue to push you. You have to be the one to tell them you can't do it on a regular basis. That it is only in times of emergency of extreme deadlines.

When it comes to your home life let those in your house know what you think you are capable of handling on a daily/weekly basis. Maybe it's time the kids started doing their own laundry or cleaning their bathroom. Let your spouse know that you can't cook dinner every single night and if they can't pick up the slack then come up with some sort of compromise. Maybe you can cook 2 nights a week while your spouse cooks for two nights and then you order out or go out the other nights. Or maybe one night is for leftovers.

Then there is time with friends. Maybe you typically go out for drinks at happy hour which includes ordering a bunch of appetizers but you are now looking to lose some weight. Let your friends know that you can no longer participate in happy hours but would love to get lunch or maybe go for a walk instead. I know this can be a tricky one and some people may not want to switch what they do with you but that is something you have to stick to when it comes to doing something for yourself. You are your top priority. You need to do what is going to be best for you in the long run. And honestly if your friend can't be your friend outside of happy hour they may not be the friend you thought.

There may be times you have houseguests that you make you a little crazy. So make some boundaries with yourself. Vow to not let the little things get to you like a messy room or leaving dishes in the sink. Tell yourself it's only temporary and try not to let it distract you from having fun with your guests. If there are little kids involved and you are worried about your pets get a little abused. Set some ground rules up front. Tell the parents that when you see the kids getting too aggressive with the dog you will have to correct them for their own safety so the pets don't lash out at them. Let them know ahead of time so there is no misunderstanding if it happens.

Mostly you should set a boundary for yourself. Stop thinking you can do it all and all in one day. I have a bad habit of thinking I will get so much done on a particular day and often I get overwhelmed thinking about it all and often find ways to distract myself from doing any of it. Obviously that isn't productive at all so make a priority list. What absolutely has to be done (be realistic) and how can you schedule it for yourself in a way that doesn't overwhelm you. Sometimes you have to let the house go a little and order out. Sometimes you need to prioritize the house and get the darn thing cleaned and the laundry done. Then you need to do that when work demands aren't as dire. You are the only one who can decide what is most important and when. Because when you make everything important nothing is important. Balance. That's what it's all about. Sometimes just a little time planning things out can be a huge help.

Remember that you are in charge of your boundaries and you need to take action when they are being stretched too far. It's up to you to keep yourself in line and make sure you are honoring the things you say are important.

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Now go out there and be badass this week. I'm always here cheering you on.

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