April 28, 2021
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Your energy is too precious to be wasted on plans and activities that don’t serve your health.
Do you have boundaries in place to protect your health?
You probably hear boundaries talked about most often in terms of relationships and work-life balance. If you have a chronic illness, you also need a personal set of boundaries to prioritize your well-being.
Setting boundaries is a part of having a healthy relationship with yourself. If we don’t have any in place, we let our energy and happiness be drained by things we don’t want to give in to.
Those with chronic conditions know that energy is too precious to be wasted!
I used to be afraid to say no to plans. I feared that turning down plans would look like I was using my chronic illness as an excuse to not be social.
Instead, my energy was used up by things I didn’t want to do and I wouldn’t have enough energy for the things that were important to me.
Once I realized where I needed boundaries and stuck to them, I started to feel better. My mental and physical energy was prioritized for what I actually wanted and needed to do, instead of what I felt like I should do.
Boundaries are a form of self-love because they protect you from the things that don’t serve your mental or physical health. Without them, energy can be drained very quickly.
Here are three boundaries you should consider setting if you have a chronic illness.
If you feel like it is time to establish some boundaries in your life, consider these three to start.
It’s unfortunate, but you might come across a relative or friend that isn’t supportive of you. This can look like:
As with any negative situation with someone, you should try talking to the person first before taking other drastic measures, like cutting them out of your life.
Often, people who are unsupportive are projecting their own pain onto you.
That pain could have nothing to do with you, or it might be that your relationship has changed and they feel resentful about it.
Either way, it is unacceptable, but an open and honest conversation could be the key to getting past that.
If someone denies that they’re being hurtful and they’re unwilling to change, then you have every right to limit interactions or walk away from the relationship.
“No” is not always a negative word. In fact, it can be liberating!
It can be tempting to want to say “yes” to every plan or ask that comes your way. However, there are times when saying “no” or even “I don’t know yet” will be more beneficial to you.
Here are two situations you may face and examples of how to respond if you aren’t ready to commit.
Remember, your boundaries can be fluid. Always listen to your gut instinct in each situation.
Most advice, especially coming from friends or family, is well meaning. And while it can be annoying, try to see it as a compliment that this person was thinking of you and how they could help you. It likely came from a place of love.
Sometimes, however, advice does not feel so loving and is actually rude or ignorant.
Whether unsolicited advice is well meaning or ill intended, if it does not serve you, be direct and let the person know.
Depending on the scenario, your reply may be something like:
Most of the time, people in our lives just want to help, so be gentle but direct.
Remember, the purpose of boundaries is to help you to put more of your time and energy into things you want to do and experience.
Something that is an easy “yes” for someone else may be a hard “no” for you.
Don’t worry about creating boundaries that make sense to other people, it just has to feel good for you!
Article originally appeared on April 28, 2021 on Bezzy’s sister site, Healthline. Last medically reviewed on April 27, 2021.
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