Here are three ways of telling you You can not give to everyone else when you don’t look after yourself first. 

  1. The oxygen mask analogy, right? The standard flight safety briefing that goes along the lines of, “Should an oxygen mask drop down in front of you, put yours on first before you attend to any children you have with you.” The idea behind this is that an adult who is well resourced will be more capable of looking after any children they have in their care during a crisis. 
  2. The empty cup analogy from speaker Lisa Nicols, who points out that you can’t give from an empty cup. You need to let the cup be full to overflowing and then you can give from the saucer. Nice.
  3. An even better example, one that’s closer to home. An example that shows us even our bodies know how to give to themselves first. When our heart pumps blood, it pumps the blood to itself first. Wow. Clever heart. Clever body. What use is blood in our bodies if we don’t have a heart to pump it? Even our body knows to look after itself first. 

We hear a lot about self-care, so where do we start with it? My money is on boundaries. The standards we set around ourselves and our needs. 

There are eight areas we can pay attention to, and they are all important:

  • Physical – touch yes/no, by who, and what’s appropriate.
  • Time – where is it going? There’s never enough of this one.
  •  Energy  – management of our resource and where we choose to focus it. Where our attention goes, our energy flows.
  • Commitment – what commitments do we take on? Are they ours? Are they linked to our values?
  • Mental – holding your own opinion and being okay to disagree.
  • Emotional – not trying to ‘make’ others happy, or expecting them to ‘make’ you happy.
  • Material – what we own/don’t own, how we look after our things, what we lend/don’t lend.
  • Financial – how we allocate our financial resources.

 It’s hard for women to set boundaries. It’s not something we’re taught to do when we’re told to “Be nice,” or to “Be a good girl.” Reprogramming the neural pathways in our brains is hard work. 

And it’s important. Setting and holding firm boundaries around our self-care doesn’t mean we are being selfish, it means we’re caring for ourselves first. That’s all. And even our bodies know how to do that.  

Strong boundaries are the foundation of strong self-care. 

If you’d like to strengthen your boundaries, Teen Talk is the place to start. It’s group coaching that begins on October 6 and runs for eight weeks. Not only will you finish Teen Talk with a new set of tools for communicating with your tween, teen, or adolescent effectively. You will also be communicating with yourself more effectively too. And good communication is a skill that is at the heart of boundary setting. Register here and start transforming yourself, and your family today