Setting Boundaries | {I Can Do Anything Not Everything}

A wise friend once said to me:

Zero plans days are the best. I try to have more of these days than not. At least two days in the week and one weekend day I try to leave with nothing organised.

I have always tried to book out “free” or “zero plans” time into our weekly calendar just simply as an attempt to create some kind of healthy boundaries and prevent overwhelm; however this can be easier said than done. During the first 2020 lockdown I wrote a guest post for Isabella and Us about resetting our expectations and learning to take life a bit slower once things get back to “normal” and now that restrictions are lifting it’s scary just how quickly our calendars and lives become booked up again.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving being able to spend time with loved ones and to be able to get out and about restriction free but I’m also feeling that familiar pull of overwhelm that comes with trying to fit everyone and everything in.

You can do anything, but not everything

I have this quote in my office as a reminder that however awesome you may be {and yes, you are awesome} there is a limit to the number of plates a person can juggle at any one time. With the pressure to be the perfect wife, mother, friend and colleague as well as keeping on top of the housework, money, world news and the washing {agh the washing}; keeping everyone happy, being available for playdates/meetings/events, look good {or at least clean}, keep fit, have a generally Instagram worthy life, plus remembering to pick your kids up on time, it can all get a bit much.  

Saying “slow down” or “take things off your plate” is all very well and good but actually setting firm {healthy} boundaries can be really hard! Boundaries come in all shapes and sizes, from switching off from work to spend time with your family and asking your family member to only drop in unannounced during certain times to letting your child play on their iPad for 10 minutes and only replying to emails once a day.

Life dips and flows. Circumstances and priorities change. And learning both how and which boundaries can benefit your current situation could have a huge impact on your wellbeing and feelings of overwhelm.

What are healthy boundaries?

Healthy boundaries are limits you set to, essentially, safeguard yourself and your time. They can be set in both your personal and professional life and dictate how you interact with people or environments. Boundaries help teach our kids right from wrong and how to respond to situations. They can create confidence and feelings of empowerment!

Boundaries can also offer protection – especially coming out of lockdown where a lot of us felt safe within our little bubble. Boundaries can protect you from:

  • what people say
  • people who make you feel insecure or unsafe
  • activities which make you feel undervalued or overwhelmed

How do I set healthy boundaries?

First of all, try to think about where you would like {or need} more limits in your life. Then work on understanding WHY you need these limits and what makes them important to you {this will help make you more confident when putting your boundaries in place}. Think about how you could make these limits a reality – how can you fulfil your goal to be home for bedtime 4 nights a week or what things, people or events no longer serve you? {Sounds harsh I know but setting boundaries for toxic relationships can be incredibly powerful!} Remember it is your right to create healthy boundaries – you are not being negative or rude. You are ensuring your own cup is filled. You are practicing self-care. You are protecting your time and priorities and being your best self!

Sometimes it’s hard to accept you can’t do everything. I know that some of my friends consider my schedule to be incredibly busy and that may be true but it’s partly because I know I need pockets of time for “zero plans” and my priorities and focus can only go so far. Sometimes I’m trying so hard NOT to be busy to get in some time for self-care or just to get on top of that bloomin’ washing!

As I’ve got older I’ve definitely got more precious with my time. Where I used to stress about letting people down I now am quite happy to be honest and say actually I can’t be bothered or that doesn’t work for me or even I just need a day at home to get some stuff done and love bomb my kids or just regress into my little cave for some downtime. Like anything, creating boundaries takes practice and there will be times you need to be firm. There will also be times you need to be flexible and responsive to situations and of course boundaries will naturally change over time.

I can do anything, but not everything. And that’s ok with me 🙂

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