It’s so easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of our lives and forget to address our own needs. And when you do manage to claw back free time for yourself you’re so exhausted that all you do is scroll social media, or zone out with netflix. This is a recipe for disaster for you on every level of your life. Growth in all areas – health, relationships, spirituality, and even career – grinds to a halt. You’re left feeling empty and washed out. The doorway back to reclaiming your viibrant, juicy self is through Conscious Self-Care and setting healthy boundaries.
Conscious Self-Care is about taking action to address your needs at a grass-roots level. It’s not about the extra indulgences we love, but about establishing daily practices that nurture and keep you grounded and energised. Ultimately it’s about supporting your wellness and creating joyful moments in your life.
Until we acknowledge what we need in our life to feel grounded, energised and joyful we can’t even begin to practice Conscious Self-care.
However, while you know you need to practice self-care, it’s quite another to actually do it regularly. These suggestions should get you started.
Set Healthy Boundaries
The most important cornerstone to creating Conscious Self Care is to set and maintain healthy boundaries. And this can be quite a challenge when there’s an expectation that we don’t upset or offend others. For some people, stating what they need can bring to the surface a genuine fear that they’ll break this social code and seem demanding. This fear can create such a high barrier that it seems impossible to even begin.
To switch this around you need to change your mindset, commit to the process, take the action needed, and start small. It can be challenging!
Learn to Say No
Don’t continue to say ‘maybe’ when you want to say ‘NO’. It’s up to you to decide what you will and won’t accept and to set and maintain your boundaries. Now we’re moving towards Spring it’s a great time to review where you’ve set your boundaries. Becoming aware that you tend to avoid saying ‘no’ when asked to do something is a great indication that your boundaries need attention.
Once you assess your life for issues you can take steps to establish new boundaries if the ones you currently have don’t support your growth and wellness. Setting boundaries is a way of saying to the world “I love and respect myself by honouring my own needs”.
“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious and you get to choose how you’ll use it. Decide what you will and won’t accept, and importantly, commit to it, People respond and treat you according to what you put out.” ~ Anna Taylor
How Are Your Boundaries?
Ask yourself these simple questions to assess the current state of your boundaries.
- When you are mistreated do you fail to speak up?
- Do you feel like others take advantage of you?
- Do you feel guilty if you dedicate time for yourself?
- Perhaps you have a chronic fear of what others think of you?
- Maybe you give away your time?
- Do you agree when you want to disagree?
- Or do you attract people who try to dominate you?
Make a list of anywhere you feel used, undervalued, or overwhelmed because chances are that’s where you need to start saying NO. Refine your list with specifics, those times when you agree to something that drains you physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually.
Setting healthy boundaries is a way to care for yourself. It doesn’t make you mean or selfish.
If you are someone who has vague boundaries it’s time to change that. But it can be difficult.
Begin with something small, something that you’d like to change but the effect won’t be shattering for those around you. Get very clear about what you want the end result to be. It’s extremely important to be very precise when you define this.
Once you have the goal clear begin to work out what you need to say to the other person to reach that end. Then practise it, in front of a mirror if that helps. Practise over and over until you feel confident, and then go ahead and speak your needs. Likely the world won’t implode!
This small change will give you the confidence to shift to the next bigger boundary you’d like to set.
One of my clients began this process by asking others not to feed her dog with scraps outside mealtimes. For her it was something that really concerned her. But she felt guilty about having to actually ask this, especially as others were kindly minding her dog while she went away. She was so astonished and relieved when everyone readily agreed to her request. She was then able to move forward easily to setting boundaries around something bigger.
Anytime is the perfect time to resolve to learn to handle stress and overwhelm by defining your boundaries. While planning plays an important role, de-stress techniques such as meditation and breathing are just as important.
Meditation is a dirty word to some. But it doesn’t need to be difficult and everyone can manage some form of meditation. Adopting this simple practice can change the way you approach your entire life.
There are many meditation and mindfulness apps available. Not every one is a good match for everyone. It’s really a case of finding the one that suits you the best.
If you have trouble maintaining meditation focus try squeezing in a few blocks of five minutes of focus throughout the day. If five minutes is too much, start with two minutes.
Sit comfortably and focus on breathing deeply into your belly. Breathe in through your nose for the count of four. Breathe out through your mouth for the count of four. Pause for the count of four. Simple!
Spending just five minutes in nature every day can be another way to meditate. Shut down outside thoughts and simply enjoy the beauty around you. Become aware of your surroundings without engaging with them.
If you can’t focus when sitting still try a walking meditation on your own. Take slow, measured steps as you focus on your breath. Choose a single word mantra such as ‘peace’, and repeat it as you inhale. Choose another like ‘release’ and repeat it once with each breath out.
Once you have mastered deep belly breathing use it to ground yourself and draw on your courage before discussing your new boundaries with others.
Setting and maintaining boundaries is perhaps most important practice you need to adopt to care for yourself. It is the cornerstone for creating and maintaining wellness. Begin your journey of Conscious Self-Care by adopting these practices for healthy boundaries.
How do you practice Conscious Self-Care in your life?
Work With Me
Would you like to move beyond Self-Care to a place where you have time to ground and energise yourself, and to find the time and energy for others?
Join me in Vietnam in November 2019 for 9 days of ‘Self-Care Made Real’.
All the details can be found here
Please contact me if you have questions.
All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation with your health care provider. Do not use this article to diagnose a health condition. Speak to your doctor if you think your condition may be serious or before discontinuing any prescribed medication. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.