Self-Care Challenge (Day 99): Setting Boundaries

barbed wire fence with the coast of maui in the background

On day 99 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I explored setting boundaries as a form of self-care.

As much as we’d like to believe we really can do it all, the reality is that time is a limited resource. How we choose to use that time determines what gets accomplished and what doesn’t.

But before we can even think about setting limits on how we spend our time, we must first recognize there’s a need to set a boundary in the first place.

Some hints that we may need to reign in our commitments include not sleeping well, feeling exhausted for extended periods of time, getting sick easily, not performing at our usual 100%, noticing that things are falling through the cracks, or feeling generally disorganized.

Once we become aware of the need for boundaries, we have a couple of options. One way is to improve our efficiency by either delegating tasks to others or optimizing the way we manage our schedule. For example, blocking out time for specific tasks in advance often makes a big difference. The second option is that we can let go of something (or some things). When we remove commitments (especially those that don’t align with our goals) we have more time to invest in tasks that are relevant.

Asking the question, “Am I spending my time and energy on the right things?” is a great place to start.

After going through this process recently myself, I made the difficult decision to disband my book club. I had to ask myself, “Has the group served its purpose?” It had. When I answered this question honestly, I realized that I’ve accomplished what I set out to: I read some amazing books, I connected with other passionate individuals in my community, and I established a much clearer vision of my future. While I will miss our thought-provoking discussions, I had to come to terms with the fact that my time and energy were needed elsewhere.

Setting boundaries not only helps us focus our time and energy on activities that directly impact our goals, but it also helps us protect our health. When we push ourselves beyond our capacity, it can take a toll. And it often sets us back further.

What are you considering letting go of?

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