Boundaries. How successful are you at establishing them? If you struggle with this (and, let’s face it, many of us do), I hope you find this post on ‘How to Create Boundaries for the Sake of Your Health’ helpful…
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” – Brené Brown
Yep. Setting boundaries is a form of self-care.
The further you dig into this health caper, the more you realise that it’s all about you…
And, that can be counter-intuitive for most of us. It’s very likely you’ve grown up in an environment where you’ve been taught to be selfless; to worry about others before you do your self. This is especially true if you are of the female persuasion.
Unfortunately, if you’re anything like me, you’re discovering that this hasn’t served you. And, even if you are not ready to acknowledge this consciously, your body may have other ideas. Chronic illness, anyone?
To really effect lasting change, it’s important that you change your perspective on the notion of setting boundaries. And, this involves creating behaviours to enable you to put your priorities where they need to be. For the sake of your health. If you haven’t already done so.
Today, I’m offering up some tips on just how to achieve that goal…
Be Impeccable with Your Word (to Yourself)
This just happens to be the very first of The Four Agreements. To be impeccable with your word is to be truthful with yourself (and others), and to say things in a way that they have a positive influence – both on yourself and on others. It means treating yourself as you would a trusted and loved friend.
Your brain can’t tell the difference between what is real and what is imagination. You act on what you tell yourself is real.
Screening your self-talk and reframing it to be more positive takes work. But, so too, does honouring our commitments…
Are you one of those people who reschedules your plans (especially self-care plans) when you receive a last-minute call from a friend or loved one? Being impeccable with your word means applying this premise to your personal commitments. Try putting yourself first for a change. See what happens!
* you might like to pick up a copy of The Four Agreements if this is a challenge for you!
Learn to Say No
“Being able to say “No” is a necessary ingredient in a healthy lifestyle.” ― David W. Earle
Are you challenged by finding it hard to say no?
Being unable to say no can make you feel exhausted, stressed and generally frustrated and pissed off. It could even be undermining any efforts you’re making to improve your health if you’re spending time worrying over how to get out of an already-promised commitment (or two. Or, fifty-three, even…).
Socially, we say “yes” because we don’t want to let people down. Sometimes it can make us feel trapped, too. We feel bad that we’re not helping a friend in need, or whatever the case may be. Saying “yes” can be easier than saying “no,” and it’s a habit…
We’d rather deal with our negative response than a sense of judgment from others.
If your spare time is taken up with commitments to other people, perhaps it’s time to start asking yourself what you need…
But, how do you learn to say no…?
In very practical terms, there is a formula you can use to help out when you’re in the early stage of exercising your “no” muscle.
- First, you can start with a compliment (if appropriate).
- Give your response. Say no – politely.
- Say thank you.
- Encourage the person.
- Change the subject or simply excuse yourself.
Don’t make a big deal out of it. Just smile and stay upbeat. When first experimenting, it can be easy to say too much.
Here’s an example…
“You’re such a good friend to me, Susan. Unfortunately, I’m not available. Thank you for asking. I know how great your barbecues are.”
Create Routines that Support Your Health
“Routines are like mental butlers. Once you have a routine in place, then the mental processes that make the behaviour happen take place automatically.” – Michael McCullogh, professor of psychology at the University of Miami
In other words, you save time and energy and reduce stress by implementing routines that support your healthy lifestyle.
By eliminating the mental to-ing and fro-ing of making a decision, you move directly to getting a task done. Instead of creating each day from scratch, routines create a framework of small decisions you no longer have to make so you have more time to devote to things that matter.
Routines also stop you from making unconscious choices that don’t serve you! They help you crowd out the things in your life that don’t serve you.
Some examples of routines that support an AIP lifestyle
- Creating a Morning Ritual
- Establishing a regular short term goal setting practice
- Implementing a daily Food and Mood Journal routine
- Schedule a daily mindfulness session into your diary and commit to it (I love Legs Up the Wall. Crocodile Breathing is another popular choice.)
- Eat breakfast. Every day. No excuses.
- Have a sleep routine.
Take Time for Reflection
We know intuitively that we learn by ‘doing’; experience. We also that we learn from our mistakes.
The science behind the act of reflection is compelling. Research increasingly tells us that without the process of actively thinking about our experiences, and questioning ourselves about what they mean for us, learning doesn’t really happen.
Reflection is what takes us from experience to understanding. By taking time out to ask simple questions like, ‘How did that work for me?’ or ‘what could I do differently’, we can make small but cumulative steps to streamlining the protocol to fit our individual needs.
My personal favourites are:
- What’s working for me?
- What’s not working for me?
- What’s tricky for me?
As human beings, we have a tendency to focus on the negatives. This is especially true with chronic illness.
Regular reflection provides a constructive way for us to consider the positives. This can be a huge benefit given the non-linear nature of healing.
Reflecting on our personal AIP experiences gives us the opportunity to look at situations through a different coloured lens and to challenge our assumptions about what is serving us and what is not. This is a personal example of some of my reflections on my AIP caper.
Creating time for reflection allows the potential for us to shift our personal health paradigm.