Society has very high standards for the amount of hours that we are "expected" to work (especially in the US!) and the amount of responsibilities and tasks that we're "supposed to" be doing at once. Undoubtedly, some responsibilities cannot be avoided or delegated. Having extra disposable income can certainly help when trying to outsource certain things so that your time is freed up to focus on more enjoyable things. When life is pulling you in many directions and you're feeling overwhelmed, there are certain strategies you can utilize to help you avoid getting to the point of burnout. Being more mindful of how you spend your time and how you feel about the things that you're doing can help you in prioritizing and choosing the best ways to use your time. Learning how to balance your life so that you're getting the majority of your wants and needs met will help you to feel happier and more satisfied with life. Providing yourself with opportunities to relax and do things that feel good are also important aspects of good self-care, and can include anything from participating in a hobby to staring up at the clouds in the sky. Downtime is extremely important and allows you to rejuvenate. The focus at the moment, however, is setting boundaries in order to preserve your precious time, energy, and self-respect, and to get your own needs met.
I work with many women in my practice who find it challenging to set appropriate but necessary boundaries for themselves. It seems that there are several reasons why women tend to struggle with boundary-setting and being assertive. Sometimes they share that they feel they would be seen as being "mean" or "selfish" if they say no to others who are need of help or assistance. Women often feel that they've been socialized to take on the responsibilities of those around them--their children, elderly parents, friends, etc. They try to juggle having a successful career with caring for those around them, and it is often to their detriment. As mentioned above, some responsibilities cannot be avoided, and money-making is an obvious necessary evil which can take its toll on those making sacrifices to do it all. Feeling obligated to say "yes" to every social event can also drain you of your needed energy and re-charging time. This can be even more true for those who are Highly Sensitive or more Introverted, wherein they need some quiet, often alone, time to recharge and refresh their reserves.
Rather than depleting yourself to the point where you experience burnout, try some of these tips to get a grasp on your limits and boundaries to help you feel more balanced and in control of your life:
1. Allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to ask for help when you need it. Whether it means getting assistance with cleaning your house, meeting a deadline at work, or taking care of someone who's ill, consider asking for assistance so you don't feel that you have to do it all yourself.
2. Be willing to say "No" if someone asks you to do something that you feel in your gut you don't want to do. You may have good intentions by wanting to be helpful, but if you're feeling like you really want to say "no", trust that feeling and act accordingly.
3. Help others to understand what your limits are by communicating them, and most importantly, following through with consistency.
4. Let go of the guilt of feeling that you're not doing enough. Give yourself some compassion, knowing that you do your best, but you're only human and can't do it all.
5. Consider developing a structured schedule or balance wheel so that you can visually see what your biggest priorities are for your time and energy.
5. Try to be aware of what you're taking on in terms of energy and tasks, and consider letting go of what isn't actually "yours" so that you can make room for the things that are most important to you in your mind, body, and soul.
There are many ways that you can become more aware of your personal boundaries and set limits for yourself, but hopefully this list will help you to get started. By evaluating how you're using your time and energy, you can then determine in what ways you can make some improvements to set boundaries and feel more happy, healthy, and balanced. Staying on top of these things on a regular basis will help you to avoid having your stress level increase to the point of burnout.
If you're a woman in San Diego, you may want to consider reaching out for some help with developing better habits and feeling more comfortable setting boundaries for yourself. I'll be hosting a workshop on 2/16/19, along with a Homeopath, to provide you with an opportunity to relax, recharge, and learn the skills necessary to move forward with living a more balanced, mindful, and fulfilling life. More information can be found at www.mindfulmatterscounseling.com/workshops
Please visit www.mindfulmatterscounseling.com for assistance in Pacific Beach, San Diego, CA with stress reduction and related concerns.