Balance and Boundaries as Self-Care
Expectations and commitments can exert both positive and negative influences on your life and health.
You’ve heard the phrase “rise to expectations.” Stretching and growing to meet a bar set by yourself or others—whether it’s a personal or professional accomplishment—can be powerful and positive motivation. But it can be demoralizing if you lack the tools or resources necessary—or are being measured against unrealistic parameters.
Likewise, commitments to organizations and individuals—work or school, family or authority figures—can bring a sense of fulfillment or exhaustion. When commitment is a two-way street, you can be energized and replenished, but if you’re repeatedly taken advantage of, you can end up drained and physically and mentally unwell.
Balance comes when you learn to set personal boundaries and use them as self-care techniques.
The Importance of Setting Boundaries
The boundaries you set can be physical and emotional; they’re meant to establish how you want to be treated by the people around you. Boundaries can also be the guidelines you set for your actions, helping you regulate how you react to specific people and situations.
If there are people in your life whose actions and behavior make you uncomfortable, establishing boundaries can help protect you from those problematic relationships. Saying no to people close to you may initially make you feel guilty; however, always saying yes can enable their unacceptable or unhealthy behavior. Your boundaries are crucial to preventing abuse and manipulation and supporting your health and vitality.
Setting parameters for yourself can help moderate or change how you react in certain situations: You may be in a toxic relationship with a person who provokes you into emotional outbursts or risky behavior. Or maybe you lean too often on others to make decisions for you when stressed. By setting clear boundaries, you define how you will act—you will not respond to their provocations, or you will not rely on someone else to figure out that financial concern—to protect your happiness and health.
Boundaries as Self-Care Techniques
Self-care is the practice of improving your physical, emotional and mental well-being. Because, as we said earlier, boundaries can be physical or emotional, they also protect your mental health.
Boundaries don’t only refer to your relationships with the people close to you. They can also help you align with your values and prioritize your own needs. These boundaries can tell you when you’re not acting in your self-interest or keeping yourself safe from physical or emotional harm.
Boundaries can bring balance by increasing self-awareness and helping you define your identity. Seeking balance in your life will guide your reactions in a way that protects your holistic well-being. Think of boundaries as personal rules that help you regulate your actions to avoid physical and emotional burnout. They may even be reminders to slow down when you’ve gone beyond your physical limit. Or they may help discipline you when you start to feel inconsistent or disorganized.
By practicing self-care in the form of boundaries, you avoid codependency on others and define physical and mental health for yourself. If you’d like to talk more about setting realistic boundaries for your mental health, Communicare is here to help. Please take a look at our services and don’t hesitate to contact us! You can call our 24-hourCrisis Line at any time for mental health emergencies.