Do you struggle with being able to voice what you need in life? Do you struggle with speaking up and saying no? Or do you struggle to put yourself first when you know you should, but feel like you just cant? If so, you might be surprised to learn that this lack of boundary setting could actually be causing you physical pain.
I know, surprising right? But a lack of boundaries can have a knock-on effect on our health and wellbeing.
Years ago when I began my migraine journey, I would have said that, yes, I struggled with setting boundaries in regards to my health. Even if I was in pain I struggled to say no to plans or social functions through the fear of letting people down and the guilt I would experience.
However, over the years I thought I had got better with this until recently I learned the hard way that by not voicing what it was that I needed in a certain situation and by not setting a boundary, I experienced a week of pain that could have been 110% prevented. I had absolutely no one to blame but myself.
So since that experience, I have been working on creating firmer boundaries and I wanted to share with you what has helped me on this journey.
Ok, so what are boundaries?
Boundaries are simply guidelines, rules or limits that you set that tell the outside world what is acceptable and unacceptable. They are effectively an invisible line that you draw that separates them from you. Your boundaries separate your physical space, your feelings, needs, and responsibilities from others.
Boundaries can come in all forms such as emotional, physical, mental and spiritual and are needed in all areas of your life such as work, relationships with loved ones, your children and social life.
Why is it so important to have strong boundaries?
The reason it is so important to set strong boundaries is that boundaries are essentially an act of self-care and without this, your physical and mental health can suffer. For a long time on my health journey, I had no idea that the two correlated, but they most definitely do.
When you don’t set clear lines in the sand then others are able to take advantage of you, you live at the mercy of other people’s demands and you spend your time and energy doing things that don’t serve you and most importantly, don’t serve your health and healing.
How can I learn to implement strong boundaries?
To learn how to set firm boundaries all you need is patience, practice, and persistence because it is essentially just about learning a new habit. So here is my four-step process to help you on your journey to becoming a boundary pro.
Get good at saying no
So in order to set boundaries, you are going to have to get really good at saying the words that you don’t want to say. N O – NO. I know it may be hard at first and it will come with an onslaught of guilt and fear, however, this one little powerful word has to become your best friend. So practice, practice, practice until you feel secure in saying it with confidence.
2. Listen to your gut
Do you ever have that feeling in your gut when you are asked to do something but you hesitate, are silent for a second, feel uncomfortable and don’t know how to answer? Now that feeling there is normally your cue to speak up and to voice what you need. Getting good at being able to tell people what you need is an important part of boundary setting.
3. Set boundaries ahead of time
This one has really helped me when I have a packed schedule ahead of me. I take some time to go through my diary and create boundaries. I schedule in time for myself, how long I will spend with friends, on work and social functions. At first, you can even go as far as setting alarms on your phone when you are out as a little reminder.
4. Stick to them no matter what
Trust me, your boundaries are going to be tested, time and time again and at first it really will feel like a struggle to stick to them. However, over time this will get easier and easier so don’t give up. Practice, patience and perseverance are the keys.
And remember friends, if anyone has a problem with the boundaries you set, it is only a reflection on them, because people who set boundaries themselves respect other peoples boundaries. It is the person who has no boundaries that this may be a problem for.
Do you think voicing what you need and setting boundaries could improve your health?
#Boundaries #MentalHealth #Health #Migraine #Headaches