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How to Set and Maintain Boundaries

Written by: Brittany Breton Edited by: Magnolia Heaton Hello All! :)

This week I have been thinking a lot about setting boundaries. Let's do a brief overview: what are boundaries? They are physical, mental, emotional, and/or energetic barriers that keep all the good things in and all the bad things out; boundaries help to protect things (our wellbeing, our sanity). Boundaries allow us to let others know what is acceptable to us and what is not; what is okay for others to say to us and what isn't; when we can be contacted and when we can't, for example. Because we all have different needs, it's important to let others know what kind of support and space we need to care for ourselves and maintain our responsibilities. Boundaries can look vastly different for each of us, depending on our unique physical, emotional, mental, and energetic needs. Setting boundaries can include a lot of things. A few examples are: -communicating to others what we need in a relationship or situation -letting others know what time and space we need to maintain our wellness,

-letting others know what our limits are -letting others know anything else we need to care for ourselves. Our needs for boundaries can also change over time depending on what we're facing in our lives, how much sleep we have had, etc. When you think of setting boundaries, what comes to mind for you?

For me, when I think of setting boundaries, I think of communicating my needs to others in a manner that promotes mutual understanding and respect. Because I care for those around me and want to support them as best as I can, I often have to remind myself that it's okay (and very important) to save time, space, and energy for me. I also have to remind myself that I don't always need to explain the reasoning behind my need for setting a boundary if I don't want to, and that "no" is a complete statement when need be. As I continue to set boundaries within the relationships in my life, I have found that those who want to support me respect and understand those boundaries. Setting boundaries can be done in many ways. Before attempting to set boundaries, make a clear plan for yourself so you can better understand what you need and communicate those needs to others clearly. Monitor how much of your energy you expend on others and make adjustments to your energy usage as necessary to preserve energy for yourself. This can include limiting your time, emotional availability, communication, level of connection, physical space, and belongings as necessary to protect your own overall well-being. After determining what boundaries you need to maintain your wellness, communicate with people directly in a calm and straightforward fashion to explain what your boundaries are and how they can respect them. Let them know what you are and are not open to, and what your needs are as an individual. (Remember that people cannot read your mind; they need to hear from you directly about how to support your boundaries.) Stay firm with your boundaries and confront others in a respectful manner if they cross your boundaries. Let them know that what happened crossed a line for you. If you feel like you're struggling to set and maintain boundaries, reach out to a mental health provider to get support.

When our boundaries are respected, we have more space for our own wellness and healing, which allows us to continue to share love and healing with others. Remember that we deserve to have our boundaries respected, always, and that we should respect the boundaries of others, always.

Much Love,

Brittany <3

MSW Intern

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