One of the greatest barriers to leading a happy, balanced life is not considering ourselves and sacrificing our time and energy for the benefit of others. For many, it’s a natural reflex to say ‘yes’ in order to avoid the guilt or discomfort of saying ‘no’. But this can come at a cost far higher than you may expect, especially when these seemingly minor occurrences start accumulating and you’re loading your plate with far too many responsibilities – most of which aren’t even a benefit to you!
At some point, we all need to realise the value of our time and energy. Although a favour to a friend, family member, or colleague may seem easy enough – is this costing you energy that you could be channelling into something that is important to you and contributes to your future health and happiness? It may feel wrong to think like this – it may feel as though we’re hardwired to prioritise the needs of others above ourselves. But this is simply called setting healthy boundaries for yourself to ensure you are protecting your sense of peace above all else.
“Being able to set boundaries is an important part of having healthy personal and professional relationships and shows a high level of self-worth that all can benefit from,” says our Spa Manager, Teigan.
So where do we begin? In this journal entry, we’ll dive into some simple ways you can set up healthy boundaries in your life to reduce stress and gain the most enjoyment out of life. But first, let’s take a look at the consequences of not taking this initiative.
The repercussions of lacking boundaries in life
“Saying yes to everything doesn’t allow precious focused energy for projects and tasks that are a priority. Saying yes to please others in the moment is a disservice to both parties when we are already at capacity. Scattered energy is not productive or intentional,” says Teigan.
Some signs and consequences of not setting up these healthy boundaries may include:
- Difficult or dramatic relationships: If you’re handing power to the other person in your relationships – no matter what the nature of these may be – you’re essentially sacrificing control. When your values or priorities don’t align with the other party, this can lead to friction and conflict.
- Fatigue for no apparent reason: The pressure you’re putting yourself under by constantly saying “yes” is going to be taxing on your energy eventually, even if it is subconsciously at first.
- You feel exploited by those around you: Unfortunately, not everyone – in fact, most people – won’t have your best interests at heart. Your willingness to put yourself out there for the benefit of others may be taken advantage of and can lead you to a feeling of resentment rather than fulfillment.
- You’re often irritable: If you’re feeling exploited, that frustration can seep into other areas of life and infiltrate your attitude throughout different scenarios.
- Your sense of self is unclear: If you’re not giving yourself the time to determine your own goals and priorities, feeling a sense of being lost and even an identity crisis is perfectly natural and understandable.
Boundaries you can set today
If the above rings true for you, we have some good news: you’ve taken the first step towards making a change, which is recognising that there’s an issue in the first place.
We asked Teigan to share some simple boundaries that you can set in place today to start making a difference and setting the use of your time and energy back on track.
1. Learn to say no in a way you’re comfortable with
This will help remove any guilt you may feel and prepare you for these situations so you don’t resort to agreeing for a lack of what to say. Perhaps it’s as simple as preparing a response such as, “I would love to help, but my plate is full at the moment”. You have no obligation to justify yourself and your commitments, but this can help put your mind at ease.
2. Prioritise self-care, personal time, and work commitments
Sort out your personal priorities, schedule them in, and then evaluate how much time you have from there to dedicate to helping those around you – not the other way around!
3. Set alone time without distractions
When you’re spending time on your own priorities and commitments, don’t allow anything to pull you away from your focus. If others are calling for your attention, give yourself permission to put away any source of distraction for that brief period of time. Everything else can wait – but time that’s dedicated to focusing on you and your goals has already waited long enough.
Recognising a lack of personal boundaries and setting these in place empowers you to regain control of your life. Self-sacrifice to an unreasonable extent benefits no one, so never feel guilty for putting your best interests first and protecting your peace!