4 Steps for Healthy Boundaries

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How Saying No Honors Who You Are

The holiday season is upon us. You are scanning your calendar for the next 6 weeks and realize that you have just 2 days to yourself. Your calendar is filled with obligations to other people – real or perceived. Can you relate?

When you are all about being all things to all people, making everyone happy and doing it all, it results in blurred boundaries. Where is it that you end and someone else begins? Creating clear boundaries for ourselves is about learning to say no in some areas. During the holiday months especially we have work, family and social obligations that go beyond the normal routine. How can you say no without feeling like a total jerk? How can you relate to holiday pressures in a new way? Here are 4 ways to reframe your thoughts:

  1. Say NO to: Being all things to all people. Say YES to: Choosing how you will engage and for how long. Choose wisely your volunteer and social opportunities. Write goals about how you want all your events to go. I write a goal before my social events that I connect with the right people to have meaningful conversation. Stop in, enjoy some socialization and lend a hand for the time you have set aside. Then go recharge and do something that energizes you.
  2. Say NO to: The negative and guilty voices in your head. So many “coulds” and “shoulds” run through our heads every day. Be mindful about judging yourself for feeling the way you do. We would never let anyone else talk to us the way we talk to ourselves. Put the “should” stick down. Say YES to: Changing your perspective. We are human beings. What we do is judge ourselves and others. Let go and choose to listen to a gentler kinder voice that supports your highest good. Listing things you are grateful for or looking for small things to celebrate within the big functions can help block the negative self-talk.
  3. Say NO to: Excess. Excess spending, food, drink and all the other excesses that can come with celebration. Say YES to: Being true to your budget, body and values. Map out what behaviors you expect from yourself before each shopping trip or each event. If you set some expectations for yourself beforehand, you can avoid the guilt and regret you may feel later. Eat a healthy snack and/or meal before every event so you are good to your body.
  4. Say NO to: Feeling like you have to do it all RIGHT NOW. Say YES to: Using your boundaries to say no to the right now. Plan a post-holiday celebration with close friends that are feeling the same pressures that you are. Give your time to your favorite charity in the spring or summer, when volunteering falls off.

Say YES to loving yourself enough to be a no. Exercise your personal power to use your boundaries wisely throughout the year. See how it makes a difference and causes a positive ripple in every area of life. I am wishing you joy, love and contentment during this holiday season.

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