When our boundaries are not clear and strong, we cannot feel safe which puts the foundation of our energy on unsteady ground. Clearing up your boundaries can make you less stressed. Here are three ways to sharpen the edges of your boundaries so that you feel safer and more calm.
1. Your body is your sacred vehicle in the world
Your body is your temple and how you interact with the world and it’s up to you to set clear boundaries. Be clear on what type of physical contact you are comfortable with when you are with different people. Obviously loved ones will have different levels of comfort versus coworkers or someone you know casually.
Determine what really works for you despite social norms and be sure to respect the other person’s preferences – airing on the conservative side when you are not sure what might be appropriate for physical contact.
As we go back into the world with COVID-19 our ideas on how we want to interact physically may change and everyone will have different perspectives on this – be open to the fact that there may be shifts in how some express themselves.
My practice: I’ve had a few male yoga/sound healing students and a male yoga teacher (who I didn’t know at all!) hug me after class and start to make it a regular thing. This makes me really uncomfortable with men that I don’t know and it starts to feel like a weird expectation.
I’ve set a boundary to protect my sense of safety for that even though it might be socially awkward in the moment. That socially awkward moment is nothing compared to how I feel when I let myself be hugged by a guy I don’t know and then feel some weird obligation to keep doing this. It’s just not for me, although I know lots of people who hug everyone, so a boundary needs to be clear.
2. What’s “enough”? Respect your sleep, your body, your family time, and anything else that’s important to your health by asking yourself “what’s enough” in this situation.
Maybe it’s enough food, or drink, or work, or social media scrolling, or enough staying up late and being tired – whatever it is for you that you can mindfully ask if you are satisfied where you are and say “that’s enough”. Set that boundary within yourself with kindness.
My practice: With my own business this is about determining when I’ve done enough work. I often feel like I should be working all the time, especially now since I’m home most of the time with the quarantine.
I’m working towards setting boundaries on when I end work and take breaks for relaxation, exercise, and family time.
I know many of you are working from home and with kids at home too, so I’m sure the lines are very blurry there.
3. Honoring your energy. There is only so much time in the day and energy that we have so we want to use it wisely.
This may sometimes mean saying no to something or delegating tasks to others. When we are highly motivated or want things done our way that can be hard to do sometimes.
Take time to evaluate the things in your life that will move the needle the most – what personal and professional things can you get done that have the most meaning and can maximize your efforts? What can you get help with or say no to? What can you get done that isn’t perfect right now, but is a work in progress so you can get started and conserve your energy?
My practice: I take time in the morning to make a list of the most important three things. If I can get these three things done, then I will have a sense of accomplishment in the day.
It’s hard to choose because I have another running list of items that all need to get done and those are usually the easier tasks, but I try to focus on the most powerful things that will make the most of my energy even though these are often the most challenging to focus on.
How does that all feel?
I hope that this gives you some ideas on how to set boundaries for yourself and others to help you get more grounded and feel safer in your body, your connection to the earth, and with your time and energy. I strongly believe that unclear boundaries are a big cause of stress.
Try journaling with a five minute brain dump on these three boundary tips and see what comes up for you. Just write without editing yourself.
You don’t have to set all these boundaries in stone or know what you want right away, but you do want to be aware of places that feel sensitive and could use more exploration to broaden that grounding energy.