4 tips to prepare and place healthy boundaries in your life
2021 is all about self-love! It's the year to prioritize mental health and add "setting healthy boundaries" to your to-do list. Setting boundaries looks different for everyone, ranging from requesting space to avoiding a topic or activity, and everything in between. Boundary setting is definitely a learned skill, but you can make 2021 the year you set boundaries to protect your mental wellbeing without feeling guilty.
Here are 4 suggestions on how to set healthy boundaries:
1. Identify problems in the relationship. The first step is to reflect on the relationship in question and your emotions in order to set your limits confidently. Decide whether you'd like a topic to be completely off-limits or just spoken about differently. Think of different situations that leave you feelings bad about yourself, angry, or any negative emotion and trace back the reason you felt that way.
2. Be direct and assertive. Don't disguise your boundaries and be very clear with your limits. It's easy to feel guilty, but do not apologize. It's completely normal and acceptable to put yourself first in these situations. Be assertive in maintaining your boundaries as well and hold the other person accountable if they disrespect your limits.
3. Prioritize self-care. Self-care can be more than just a 7-step skincare routine or a daily yoga class. Truly putting yourself first without feeling guilt is hard to do, but it's important to teach yourself that it's okay to recognize the importance of your feelings. Taking care of yourself starts with self-respect.
4. Seek support. Getting help is always an option, whether its from a loved one or professional guidance. Our Counseling & Wellness centers are great resources if you need assistance in setting healthy boundaries in your life.
If those steps seem intimidating, try out these 4 tips to mentally prepare to set healthy boundaries before putting them into place:
1. Start small. Before officially setting boundaries, practice just saying "no" to the other person in the relationship and reflect on how that feels. Start by setting small boundaries that seem attainable and work your way up to bigger issues.
2. Role play. Ask a friend to play the role of the person you're planning to set boundaries with to rehearse the conversation until you feel comfortable and confident.
3. Try journaling. Writing can be incredibly cathartic and effective in getting out all of your feelings without the pressure of conversation. Write down a list of emotions, boundaries, or anything you feel around that other person. You can also try writing a letter to them—choose to give it to them or just use it as an exercise and never send it.
4. Share with a trusted friend. If you know of a friend that has gone through a similar situation, ask them for advice. Share your plans with them and create a strong support system that will encourage setting healthy boundaries.
You are not alone in this journey of self-preservation. Clinicians in our Counseling & Wellness Centers can help you work towards setting healthy boundaries.
Call our main number at 844-4-ACENDA (844-422-3632 x9500) for more information or to schedule an appointment.