My life this summer has been a laboratory experiment for boundaries. And it’s not over yet! From co-facilitating Learning as Leadership’s Personal Mastery workshop with 65+ participants, to assisting a class of over 40 students to networking with 1,000 people at the World Domination Summit, life has been full to say the least. Not to mention coaching clients, and navigating life with my husband and Goldie, our 85 lb. dog who likes to sleep in our bed (I know, I know).
This week I’m visiting family — the best boundary challenge yet!
Here are some practices I use to maintain good energy boundaries:
Lesson #1 Keep your energy squeaky clean!
We are all energy. This may sound completely out there, or totally normal depending on who you are, but we are all built with a system of energy in addition to our physical body. Your energy system is susceptible to other people’s energy. When I see myself in this light, it makes sense that just as I keep my body clean, I need to keep my energy system clean.
Examples of this are:
- Ending conversations when they really end, not talking to people in my head after I’ve hung up the phone or sent the email. (Sometimes when I can’t sleep at night I realize I’m still mentally working with someone in my head!)
- Dismissing myself from a conversation if it’s negative, or simply changing the subject if the other person is whining or complaining or gossiping.
- I do an “energy sweep” throughout the day, making sure I’ve called all the pieces of myself back to me and sent all the pieces of others back to them.
- As a general rule I rarely read a newspaper or watch the news and try to avoid violent films and TV. Amazingly, I don’t miss any current events.
- As much as possible, I remove myself from any environment where I feel uncomfortable or feel physical symptoms such as a headache or nausea.
- Avoid eating or drinking anything that impacts your energy. I can no longer consume alcohol like I used to. I’m not sure why, but as my system gets cleaner and clearer, my body is more discerning and won’t tolerate certain choices like it did in the past (sugar, dairy, bread are a few others I’m needing to limit more and more.)
Lesson #2. When you are in a group, be clear what you want.
Navigating family or group needs can be challenging. Competing interests and differing glucose levels can be a source of conflict and energy drain. If everyone is trying to accommodate everyone else, it never works. Being clear on your own needs first, and articulating them, as well as being flexible that they may not get met, helps. This week I’ve gone in a rowboat (not my need but my sister was clear!) eaten chicken wings (my need!) and swam in a fresh cool lake (all of our needs!)
Lesson #3. It’s OK to take some time alone.
Sometimes I just need time for me. I’m currently writing this from the basement of my father’s house while everyone is upstairs making dinner. After a week of being together and having wonderful times, I need some space!
What are your practices for maintaining your healthy energy boundaries?