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Self-Care and Boundary Setting

self care wifa vox Jul 06, 2022

Self-Care and Boundary Setting

By: Sarah Grace

Self-care has been a hot topic the last few years, and the short mantra is that we simply cannot care for others when we do not care for ourselves - easier said than done for sure. But have you ever stopped to think of what the real repercussions of not taking care of yourself are? You could literally be taking years off of your own life by not prioritizing yourself or your wellness.

Let’s take a silly, yet serious, analogy for example. When you ride an airplane and set for takeoff, the flight attendants show you the ins and outs of what to do in an emergency, right? Well next they remind people traveling with children to care for themselves first then care for their kids - how can they help the little ones if they are incapacitated? The same is true for us every day of our lives. It is in the most critical of times that self-care is the most important, despite it often becoming the last priority. Enough of the shock value. It is important to be able to define mental self-care, learn how to say no, and set healthy boundaries for your overall well being.

What is Mental Self-Care?

What is mental self-care, and what does it look like? On the surface, mental self-care is prioritizing your own needs, taking space or breaks often, and finding ways to destress or decompress. Mental self-care should look different for everyone - we all have various interests, passions, and personal needs. The topic of mental self-care also unfortunately often ends up in conversations where it does not belong, like finances, racial injustices, gender inequities, etc. Mental self-care has become this weaponized facet that if you just take a spa day, all your life problems will go away. Some of us do not even have the privilege to afford a spa day or a mental health day from work, and I want to honor and acknowledge that. Mental self-care, rather, is the small things we do for ourselves everyday that become habitual and normal.

Mental self-care is within your power, so reframe and take it back by recognizing signs of burnout and doing things within your control to prioritize self-care. The first step is to build time for it just as you do for appointments, meetings, pick-up and drop-off, eating, etc. Can you build blocks of time into your schedule to go for a walk, put your phone down, call a loved one, read your favorite book, literally anything for you that brings you joy or peace. I am a big fan of “if it is not in the calendar, it is not happening.” So, yes, I literally schedule everything - even phone calls with friends and family. Try adding one or two timeblocks for you this week and see if that makes a difference. The smaller you start, the easier it is to achieve! The best part? You get to decide for you what self-care looks like.

Saying “No” + Setting Healthy Boundaries

Saying no is often one of the hardest things to accomplish, especially as a woman when you are constantly expected to say yes and always be agreeable to others. Honestly, learning to say no is a great way to practice mental self-care. Give yourself permission to say no at any and all times you feel it is warranted - trust your gut too! The first few times may be difficult, but then it becomes as normal as saying yes.

How valuable is your time to you? If you are someone already drowning in time commitments between work, family, friends, spouses, children, etc. why is it so easy to say yes to other people, but not yes to yourself? Learning to say no can help you create healthy, emotional boundaries for yourself in which you are not only protecting your time and personal wellbeing, but those of the people who rely on you, too. If there is one takeaway that resides with you today, let it be that you are only able to give what you have. If your battery is constantly depleted, and you only plug it in for short charges, you won’t last very long now, will you? Take breaks to get a full charge, and don’t wait until your battery needs to be plugged back in to actually do so. Show the people you love and the things that matter most to you in your life that you value them by truly valuing yourself.