By Teri Claassen
“I just want to go back to bed and get away from all of it. I can’t handle this stress!” Complaints to resolve, picking kids up from practice, returning the text from my friend who feels like I’m ignoring her, mediating the explosive fight between my kids, making a meal for the teacher who just had a baby, and a husband who wants some time with me, too.
Does this sound like you? No one can escape stress. Whether it’s related to your marriage, parenting, work, friendships, or finances, at some point you will be faced with common life stressors.
Many times stress is out of our control, but in some cases, we have more control than we think. Setting boundaries is a way to avoid and decrease stress. When we set limits around us, we teach others what we need and how to be in a healthy relationship with us. Boundaries protect us from over-committing, getting burned out, damaging our relationships with resentment, and being hurt.
If you are looking for a cure for your stress, try some of these boundaries:
1. Don’t Try to Make Everyone Happy
It is impossible to make everyone completely happy. Most of the time when you try, you sacrifice things that are important to you. I’ve worked with many clients who struggle with setting this boundary and end up full of resentment. Save yourself some stress by prioritizing things that matter most to you and negotiating the things that are less important. This trap and others can lead to self-destruction.
2. Say No
When going through busy seasons, balance is key to keeping your stress low. You can spread out the
4. Set Realistic Expectations
You are not a super hero. I repeat, you are not a super hero. Your life does not have to be perfect. It never can be, so stop trying and lower your expectations to something you can make happen. When you set expectations too high, you will often feel like a failure and increase your stress. Set some appropriate boundaries with yourself by saying no to a picture of perfection.
5. Practice Emotional Boundaries
Emotional boundaries are ones you set internally when dealing with others. These protect you from being let down by others by expecting them to be who they are. Family and other relationships aren’t always positive and can be painful. When you expect people to be who they are, you will find yourself saying, “Of course they did that” instead of “I can’t believe they did that.” Having healthy emotional boundaries will decrease your stress and leave you less rattled by relationship struggles.
Ways to Recharge and Take Better Care of Yourself
• Sit down for 5 minutes in silence. Just sit and be.
• Take a bath or hot shower before bed.
• Read a fictional book for fun.
• Watch one of your favorite movies or cartoons from when you were a kid. Let your mind drift into nostalgia.
• Listen to your favorite music and sing along—loudly!
• Sit outside in silence and listen to the sounds of nature.
• Ask for help. Life is not meant to be lived alone.
• Go to bed early.
• Say no. Don’t overcommit.
• Set realistic expectations for yourself. Say no to your internal perfectionist.
• Memorize your favorite Bible verse. Make a song out of it. Write it down and post it all around you.
• Pray without distraction. On your knees. Out loud. Without multitasking.
• Do a prayer walk in your home. Walk from room to room and pray over each space in your home. Pray for your kids in their rooms, your marriage on your bed, and in your family room for your family’s growth.
• Have a regularly scheduled time to meet up with a girlfriend. Make it a priority.
• Put down your technology. It is one of my worst time wasters that I always regret.
• Exercise regularly. Even if it is just a quick 5-minute power walk. Everyone has time for that!
• Eat to live, don’t live to eat. It’s more than just eating healthy. It’s about shifting your mindset of why you eat.
• Make a list of 5 things each day you are thankful for. Gratitude changes your attitude.
• Laugh out loud. Whether it’s by watching funny videos or reading something, be intentional to make yourself laugh.