Setting Healthy Boundaries – Surviving the Holidays and Beyond

To achieve better physical health it is important to protect your mental health. During the holidays this becomes even more important. Additional responsibilities, family tensions and over-spending can create year long problems. The increased demand on you and your time can cause a severe stress overload! In order to safeguard your sanity you must create healthy boundaries.
Boundaries serve two main purposes. Just like a traditional fence, they keep out what you don’t want in your space, and keep safe what you do want in your space. For many different reasons it is often difficult to set boundaries. With the constant barrage of stimulus we encounter daily, it becomes necessary to filter the incoming information and emotions you are confronted with.
Setting boundaries gives you the power to control the gate and only allow into your life what is useful and beneficial. It also gives you the authority to shut the gate on people, information and behaviors that are harmful to you and your goals.
Creating personal boundaries is important when people make demands on your time. You need to have clear guidelines to measure against when deciding how to spend your time. By establishing your personal time boundaries up front, you will be able to make more beneficial and consistent decisions. You will have a clear cut yes or no, based on if the activity lines up against the criteria you have set for yourself. These should be based on your personal priorities and values.
Today’s society has become so fast paced that people are “plugged in” 24/7. You are accessible by cell phone, email or even GPS. This constant accessibility can be a blessing and a curse. In a crisis or emergency, having a cell phone is a blessing. When you are trying to relax, getting numerous messages requesting your reply can be a curse.
It is not necessary to be constantly bombarded by electronic intrusions. Seek ways to create balance in your day so that you can be fully present in each moment. You need to create times in your day that are technology free. This will require you to set boundaries and stick to them.
This unplugged time can become a haven in your day. The first step is to notify those who regularly make demands on your time. They may not like it, but they need to see that it can help organize your day and reduce stress. The following tips can help you set some healthy technology boundaries.
1. Specify a set-aside time of day when calls will be returned. Don’t answer your phone at home during “specified” family times. It’s OK–really, they can leave a message and you can get back to them during your specified time.
2. Limit checking the computer, electronic planner, cell phone or email to once or twice a day and at set times. Don’t gasp! If you want to get really crazy-try scheduling some days off!
3. Only answer your cell phone when an emergency is noted, if not during specified call-back times. Remember you have a choice-live in the present and tangible moment.
4. When spending time with people, please don’t use these technology devises. Use common courtesy and give your full attention to the person you are with. Through technology dependence, society is learning to devalue actual human contact. It is no wonder there has been a rise in Attention Deficit Disorders! Technology encourages you to regularly do multiple things at once.
5. If you must use a cell phone or text while in the company of others, step aside and asked to be excused. It can be very awkward listening to other peoples conversations or playing second fiddle to an electronic device. Not to mention, rude.
By the way, take a gut check-how uncomfortable are YOU feeling right now? Technology-detox may be difficult at first. Many people have become addicted to their 24/7 technology-fix. The goal is to address the subject and deal with it appropriately. The bottom line being, it is time to take back control of your life, and fully LIVE in the moment!

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