How to set boundaries and protect your energy.

Do you feel like you’re constantly being pulled in all directions? With so many demands on our time, sometimes even the smallest requests can feel like a mountain. If this resonates with you, then it might be time to set some boundaries. In today’s fast-paced world, where we are constantly juggling the demands of work, family, and personal life, protecting your energy is crucial. Setting boundaries and taking steps to safeguard your emotional and mental well-being can help you maintain balance and avoid burnout. In this article, we will explore the significance of protecting your energy and provide practical tips to help you do so, ensuring that you create a balanced and fulfilling life where your well-being is a priority.

Understand Your Limits and Prioritise Self-Care.

To protect your energy, begin by understanding your limits. Take the time to reflect on what activities, chores, relationships, or situations are draining your energy.  Where in your life are you feeling drained and exhausted from the demands of others, and your never-ending to-do list?

But also, reflect on what replenishes your energy. Where in your life do you need to create space to do more of what lifts your spirits and brings you joy?

Self-awareness is key to establishing effective boundaries. By knowing what fuels your well-being and what depletes it, you can make informed choices about how you spend your time and energy.

Once you have a clear understanding of your limits, make self-care a top priority. I know, wishful thinking! You’re probably reading this and thinking that you don’t have time. BUT how will you continue to take care and be present for your loved ones or thrive in your career if you’re not taking care of your own wellbeing?

I speak often about the couple of hours mid-week that I have purely for my own wellbeing, to go for a walk by the beach, have a coffee, journal. It has become an essential part of the week, time that is just for me.

I encourage you to make time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation. And don’t be afraid to say no to things that will deplete your energy. Remember, when you take care of yourself, you are better equipped to support others and navigate life’s challenges.

Communicate Your Boundaries Clearly and Assertively.

I’d like to start this section by saying, as a recovering ‘people pleaser’, I have found asking for what I need challenging. I think this goes way back to my childhood, when my parents split when I was 12-year-old.  I still sometimes feel like I’m trying to keep both parents happy, splitting my time equally between them when I visit. It gives me anxiety and it’s exhausting.

But I am in recovery, and I do recognise where my challenges lie. I want to emphasise that you are allowed to ask for what you need. You’re not required to over-explain yourself. You can express how certain behaviours or situations are impacting you emotionally and mentally.

Setting boundaries to protect your energy is not about making demands of others. It’s about articulating what you need to maintain your well-being without feeling guilty; you are prioritising yourself.

It’s about communicating assertively and respectfully.  You want the other person to listen and hear what you are saying. Remember, setting boundaries is about taking care of yourself and creating a healthy balance in your life.

Setting boundaries is about creating healthy boundaries, not pushing people away.

learning to say no
Learn to Say No Without Guilt.

We’ve all been there – saying YES when we know the answer should be NO. Whether it’s guilt, fear of judgement, not wanting to let other’s down, or the fear of being seen as selfish, these feelings may sound familiar? But the truth is, the only person you’re letting down in this situation is yourself.

When you say YES reluctantly, you’re not respecting your needs or protecting your energy. In the end, you’re saying No to yourself, and it often leads to feelings of resentment towards the person, situation, task, or event you agreed to.

Learning to say no without guilt is an invaluable skill in protecting your energy. It requires courage, but it’s essential to remember that saying NO is not a negative act. Instead, it’s about valuing yourself and honouring your limits. You have the right to prioritise your mental and emotional health. By setting this boundary, you can avoid overcommitting and stretching yourself thin, ultimately preserving your energy for what truly matters.

To start, try saying no in easy, low risk situations – like when you’re offered dessert and you know you’ve already eaten enough! Practice saying no assertively and without apology. Remember you are saying no to the request, not the person.

Setting boundaries and saying no can be challenging at first, but with time and practice, it becomes more comfortable and empowering. You’ll find that by protecting your energy and prioritising yourself, you’ll have more to give to the people and activities that truly align with your values and well-being.

creating a supportive environment
Create a Supportive Environment.

Surrounding yourself with a supportive environment is crucial in maintaining healthy boundaries. You deserve to be surrounded by people who understand and respect your needs, those who unconditionally offer their support without hesitation.

Sharing your boundaries openly with those close to you might be challenging, but don’t be afraid to ask them for what you need to maintain your emotional and mental wellbeing. The people who truly care and respect you will appreciate your openness and will be more than willing to support you.

Evaluating your relationships may mean you limit the time you spend with those individuals who continuously disregard your boundaries or create a toxic atmosphere. It’s okay to set limits on how much time and energy you invest in such relationships. Remember, protecting your energy and well-being is a priority.

Establishing specific rules for your personal space and time will further strengthen your boundaries and ensure that you have the necessary support to protect your energy. Communicate these rules clearly and assertively and let those around you know how important it is for you to have this space. In doing so, you empower yourself to uphold your boundaries with confidence and grace.

Regularly Evaluate and Adjust Your Boundaries.

Setting boundaries is an ongoing process that requires regular evaluation and adjustment. As your life changes, it’s likely your boundaries will need to adapt to new circumstances.

Take the time regularly to reflect on how well your current boundaries are serving you and be open to making necessary adjustments. It’s a proactive process that can help you avoid feeling discomfort, overwhelmed, or burned-out by your current situation.

Assess your work-life balance, personal commitments, and relationships regularly. Remember, setting boundaries is a practice that requires flexibility and self-awareness. Address any areas where your boundaries may have become blurred before they start affecting your wellbeing.

By maintaining an active approach to your personal boundaries, you can ensure they continue to safeguard your energy and well-being. Understanding your limits, communicating your boundaries, and regularly evaluating your needs, you can create a balanced and fulfilling life where your well-being is a priority.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also like to read…

How to deal with difficult emotions as they arise.

Five ways to manage feeling overwhelm.

How to maintain your energy levels to avoid burnout. 


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