Boundaries and Acceptance Can Relieve Stress
Have you ever known what to do yet you just aren't doing it? Or maybe you know something needs to change but you're ignoring it- hoping things will change?
Maybe your health is suffering and looking back you can trace it to a stressful event or ongoing- chronic stress. Maybe you might not know where to start or be overwhelmed.
That's OK. There's no judgment here. No right or wrong answers. I get it. We're passionate about something. We want to help others. We want to serve, teach, support, or lead others- yet we don't practice the very things that got us to where we are or that we know to do.
Or maybe we were so laser-focused on fulfilling the call on our live/ living our dream that we neglected to take care of ourselves in the process.
It's so very important to be proactive with practicing stress relief. Try these and let me know what you think (or really how you felt) in the comments below.
Let's explore three simple essentials of relieving stress-- restorative self-care (bonus), acceptance, and boundaries.
First up is restorative self-care. What is “restorative" self-care you may be asking?
Well, you probably know what self-care is. It’s where you bathe, brush your teeth, eat food, and get some sleep. The basics.
Restorative self-care takes basic self-care to another level.
RESTORATIVE: adjective- having the ability to restore health, strength, or a feeling of well-being. "the restorative power of long walks"
noun- something, especially a medicine or drink, that restores health, strength, or well-being.
Practicing restorative self-care is what you do for yourself to create a sense of calm, peace, happiness, joy, strength, and well being.
Examples of restorative self-care are taking a relaxing candlelit bath in Epsom salt and essential oils (be sure to drink plenty of water before an Epsom salt bath. Also, be care with essential oils in the bath. Read this article first), or drinking a cup of herbal tea while relaxing in your favorite chair, or even sitting in a quiet place and dreaming a future that is full of hope.
It's also letting go of the "shoulds" and the guilt that usually comes with taking care of ourselves.
How about taking a few minutes and think about what you can do today that will make you happy. Bring a smile to your face. Give you a much-needed break and rest.
Then do it.
Now onto acceptance.
If we've gone too long in a stressful state, sometimes the reality of our situation is that we'll experience challenges in our health that will limit us.
We can remember the good 'ole days when we could do all that we wanted and needed to do. We ‘forget’ that we have or are experiencing health challenges when we're focused on completing a task or goal.
Strange how disconnected we can become from our own bodies, right?
Our minds are on the task at hand until the body has to send out louder signals (pain, fatigue, weakness, etc) to get us to stop and take a break or make changes.
The reality of my situation is that … Lyme Disease (specifically Bartonella), Chronic Fatigue, and Fibromyalgia are challenges for me. I have pain from my head to my feet on most days and at various degrees. Yet I would still push myself to do more than I should. Blocking out the fact that I have limits.
The 'blocking' was actually denial of the fact that I had limitations.
Limitations that I needed to stop running from. Turn around and face. Even embrace them to the point that I stop subjecting my body, my mind, and my emotions to the fast-paced roller coaster ride of trying to do #allthethings.
In my spirit, I kept hearing, "acceptance of the things I can't change and the wisdom to know the difference".
I returned to that beautifully simple prayer, The Serenity Prayer, and started giving myself grace. Grace and compassion for my limitations.
I cut back on many ‘extra’ things. And I focused on me, my health, and what I needed.
Which leads me to boundaries.
When I ‘cut back’ on the extra things- I got some push back from those I was ‘serving’ or had been ‘going the extra mile’ for.
Almost no one will support those of us who look fine (have you heard, “you don’t look sick”) when we set boundaries with them.
Why should they? We’ve been there for them doing whatever whenever-- why are we stopping now? Because we’re doing it for us. Whether they understand or not.
Setting boundaries is about setting limits. Setting limits with others or ourselves.
When I created my boundaries, first I had to get really clear on what I needed. I took some time to think about what I needed and didn’t need/want that would improve my health.
Once I knew what I needed with others, I politely yet firmly shared with them - at the appropriate time the new way things were going to be (insert laughing emoji here- but it’s true).
Things like I didn’t want to hear about the news right before bedtime (stress right before bed keeps me awake), I couldn’t play as long as I use to with my grandchildren (my husband would go in another room and leave me to play- so now I get him involved too), and I take a break in the afternoon as needed and don’t allow guilt to creep into my mind.
It took a consistent firm effort to say ‘no’ when I had so many people wanting my ‘yes’. In fact, the boundary setting and maintaining part took the most effort. Yet, I didn’t give up. I explained how this is what I needed to get better. I even shared information on fibro, Lyme, etc. with family members to help them understand.
And I even shared a short version of the Spoon Theory.
The Spoon Theory is a great story of what’s it’s like to have chronic health challenges that limit a person who looks fine. If you aren't familiar with it, please carve out the time to read it.
Setting boundaries is like putting up a fence around your yard. It marks where your property ends. It gives a clear definition of what's yours. You get to decide what you'll allow "in your yard" and what you won't.
I think boundaries can be hard to set because we just aren't sure what they are or how to do it. And besides, most of us women were raised to be 'good girls'. Play nice. Be quiet. "Be a dear and ___ (< do something for others).
I know that there are personality types who are genetically prone to serving and caring. And that's fine. I'm naturally a caregiver. Until I became the one needing care and I didn't have anyone there for me. (Part of that was because I didn't share what I needed. I kept on with the facade that I was fine- until I wasn't).
Now it's your turn. If we were sitting across from each other and I asked you, "what do you need?"
to feel happy?
to live your life?
to feel rested?
to improve your health?
What would your answers be?
What if I asked, "what do you not need?"
to feel less stressed?
to have less anxiety and a lasting sense of peace and calmness?
to feel helpless so you can be empowered?
How about sitting here for a moment and letting those questions stir something inside you.
Ride the wave of any emotions. Chose not to sink and drown in painful emotions. Just feel what comes up. You are the captain of your ship. You're in charge. Feel the emotions and release them.
When you're ready, think about what do you need and/or don't need.
Carpe Diem (make the most of the present time)
Here are some steps you can do -- right now to help (SOS) you stress less.
Take care of yourself and ...
Practice restorative self-care today.
Accept what you can and can't change.
Set boundaries as needed.
Stress Less SOS
Here’s to your health!
7 Steps to Stress Less ebooklet
The information shared here is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as the sharing of information only. Legal Policies
Missy Rankin, CTNC, CHS
Certified Transformation Coach
Certified Hormone Specialist
*Science-Based: I write blogs based on science backed information. I add my experience(s) and education where applicable.
Faith-Based: I may add scriptures and faith-based information as well.
It is my goal to teach and empower you to make health-promoting decisions so you can take back your life and health from stress.
Click here to go to my About Page to learn more.
WORK CITED AND/OR OTHER SUPPORTING SOURCES