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The One Thing That MUST Be on Your Holiday To Do List

The One Thing That MUST Be on Your Holiday To Do List
    Photo credit: WCN 24/7 (CC BY-NC 2.0)

    We often think that the holidays are for spending quality time with our family, carrying out traditions and enjoying time at home with the ones we love the most. Although the holidays are truly a special time for our families, so should it be for you and you alone.

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    For most of us, we make plans to buy gifts, bake, shop, cook the right food, and decorate, but forget to plan time where we are away by ourselves doing whatever it is that makes us happy. Usually during the holidays there is enough support around (family or spouse) to look after the children while we take some time to pamper ourselves, so this works out perfectly.

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    Why is this time so important for one to take?

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    It’s like the message the airlines relate to us every time we take a flight – “Please place your oxygen mask on yourself before you tend to your child.” They tell us this because our children can’t be taken care of if we are slumped over from a lack of oxygen. The same is true for us in everyday life, particularly around the holiday season, when we can more easily take time out for ourselves due to the extra support around us. We MUST use this time to do something for ourselves in order to recharge and feel ready and willing to be “mom” or “dad” again.

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    But why MUST we do this?

    Scientists in the Journal of Research in Personality stated that just five minutes of quiet solitude is all it takes to reset the body’s stress-regulating sympathetic nervous system. In fact, when study volunteers took a solo timeout, their heart rates dropped and blood pressure stabilized. Plus, they subconsciously drew deeper breaths. This triple effect left them feeling focused, rejuvenated and 58 percent more energized. So, if 5 minutes can do this, just think how great you would feel if you scheduled an hour or two away by yourself doing something you love!

    Here are some suggestions for you to try. Feel free to add your own!

    1. Get a manicure, pedicure, or both!
    2. Go for a walk in nature.
    3. Sit at a cafe and read a book while sipping a latte or tea.
    4. Get a massage.
    5. Take a bath then cozy up in bed with a great magazine and a cup of tea while family or hubby takes the kids out to play
    6. Go to a yoga or exercise class.
    7. Watch a movie by yourself while everyone is out of the house.
    8. Write in a journal or diary. Write about your goals, fears, and things you’re grateful for.
    9. Get a facial or give yourself one at home while everyone is away from the house
    10. Go to the library and search the shelves for every book you said you’d love to read. Sign them out or book them for later. Then sit down and enjoy the peace and quiet of a library while you get lost in a fabulous book.

    A whole lot of planning goes into this time of year. Why not put yourself on that list of things to do? Your mind, body, spouse and children will thank you for it.

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

    We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

    So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

    Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

    What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

    Boundaries are limits

    —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

    Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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    Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

    Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

    Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

    How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

    Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

    1. Self-Awareness Comes First

    Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

    You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

    To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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    You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

    • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
    • When do you feel disrespected?
    • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
    • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
    • When do you want to be alone?
    • How much space do you need?

    You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

    2. Clear Communication Is Essential

    Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

    Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

    3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

    Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

    That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

    Sample language:

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    • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
    • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
    • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
    • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
    • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
    • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
    • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

    Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

    4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

    Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

    Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

    Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

    We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

    It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

    It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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    Final Thoughts

    Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

    Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

    Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

    The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

    Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

    Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

    They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

    Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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