I’ve been working with a client in Australia, so we only have a short window of time to work together. She had injured herself and couldn’t get the material we needed to move forward yesterday so she sent me an email apologizing today.

I typed back, something along the lines of, “No worries, I’m here for a few more hours, otherwise we can touch base on Monday, because weekends are for my family.”

Immediately I deleted the last part. Boundaries do not need to be explained or justified; they just are.

Many of us struggle with boundaries, whether it’s the type of boundary, or who the boundary is set with. For example, you might not have any problem being clear on the boundary with your child about how long they can use your ipad and how they are to use it. Yet, you might struggle with boundaries at the dinner table when they refuse to eat and want to leave the table.

One of the most common boundaries I hear from women is they feel challenged to set boundaries around resources, which is their time and energy. We lean towards sacrificing our own needs in order to not feel like we are disappointing someone else.

Even when we set the boundary, we can feel uncomfortable with it and overexplain afterwards hoping that it will make it “okay” with the other person. Like what I almost did in the email I described above.

Especially now since the pandemic, there has never been a time where more has been asked of us.

How can we set limits to preserve our own time and energy?

Here’s a few creative ways to set boundaries for your own well-being:

  • Set a time daily for self-care you enjoy ALONE. This is critical to take care of you emotionally and mentally. Talk to your partner of when that could be and for how long. If you have older kids, you can even tell them, “Mommy is busy from 7:30 to 8am, I can help you after that.” Even 10 minutes of uninterrupted yoga, journaling, or meditation has the power to improve your whole day. Every morning I run after we get up. Dave feeds Magnus breakfast and I get on the treadmill. After that, we switch.
  • Swap childcare on the weekend for an hour or two with your partner or someone in your bubble so that you can do something you enjoy doing and give them time to do the same. Maybe you go hiking, skiing, to the library, or shopping without kids. This is so important to maintain your sense of self outside of being a mama. You are an amazing mama, and you are an amazing woman, you are both.
  • Don’t ignore your “no’s.” When someone asks for help, instead of saying to yourself, “Is it possible for me to do this for them?” Ask yourself, “Do I WANT to do this for them?” I know you might be cringing, and let me remind you that you are not obligated to do requests. You get to choose how you use your time and energy, and if it feels like a “no” in your body, listen to it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on setting boundaries with your time. Do you struggle with setting them too? What are your tricks to carve out time for yourself?