How To Create Work-Life Balance

Is work-life balance a real thing?

After a couple of decades in the working world, I’ve asked myself this time and time again.  Do people really have a work-life balance?  How do you do it?  Is it sustainable?

I tend to err on the side of optimism, so I will say that I believe work-life balance CAN exist, but it may not look like what you’d anticipate.  There’s no one-size-fits-all mold for balance, it’s more of a dance.  Once you know the steps, you’ll be able to recreate it for yourself no matter what’s going on – whether it be a pandemic, a new job, or learning to work from home.

First of all, let’s define what work-life balance looks like. 

This is individual to you, so ask yourself these questions to get started:

  1. What would you like more time for in your personal life?
  2. What areas of your work are draining you?
  3. What control do you have over your work schedule?
  4. How can you conserve your energy at work?
  5. How can you protect your energy at home?  (psst, if you’re looking for ways to protect your energy and feel more grounded, you might like my free guided meditation linked below!)

guided meditation link

When you get clear on which areas in your life are violating your sense of balance, you’ll be well on your way to establishing a better equilibrium for your work and personal life.  Noticing the ways in which you are OUT of balance can help you start to take steps to swing in the opposite direction.

Set A Boundary

Once you’ve determined the areas where you’re feeling overworked and the activities you’d like to see MORE of in your personal life, it’s time to set some boundaries.  You’ve probably heard this buzzword a lot lately, so let’s define it for context.

My preferred way to think about boundaries when establishing work-life balance is like this:

Boundaries are clearly defined statements, rules, and actions that support your wants and needs. 

In the context of work-life balance, you’ll use boundaries to protect your time and energy and to advocate for what you want and need.  This sounds pretty simple, but boundaries are REALLY EFFING HARD to communicate.  In general, use these tips for communicating your boundaries to create a work-life balance:

  1. Get as CLEAR as possible about your desired results for your boundary.
  2. Employ the use of technology to support you (use calendars, reminders, and digital well-being controls to help you enforce your boundaries). 
  3. Get your mind on board when you’re communicating with others.  Many of us are nervous to communicate boundaries so they can come out half-heartedly or with a negative tone – often because we’re anticipating the other person’s judgments.  Remember this: your tone will help others decide how to receive your information, so if you can tell someone with a smile, No, I’m not going to do that extra project, but THANKS!!! You’ll feel better, the other person will feel better (maybe a bit confused at why they feel good about it), and you don’t have to walk around feeling guilty about saying no.  Celebrate your boundaries and the people in your life who are your true supporters will celebrate them with you.

Fill The Gaps

When you’re done setting boundaries, it’s time to think about what you want MORE of.  Your boundaries are protecting your time and energy, so now what?  In general, if you don’t find a tangible replacement for the time and energy you are spending working, you’re more likely to flounder in your new free moments and revert back to your old behaviors.  Choose something you’d like to do instead.  What would help you feel more balanced?  What do you want more time/energy for in your personal life?  Schedule those activities for yourself with TOP priority in your calendar.  Having a tangible commitment to yourself will help you feel more balanced and productive at the same time.

The key to work-life balance is this: constantly assess your wants and needs, set new boundaries, and let the old ones go.  Balance is a moment, not a permanent state, so remember to return to it and assess what you need as you go so you’re not ever swinging so far out of balance that you’re feeling lost or drained.  If you’re having trouble with boundary-setting, you’re not alone!  So many of my clients struggle with this at first, so if you’re in that camp, schedule a free consult call with me, and I’ll hook you up with my best advice to get you started.

How To Avoid Burnout

If you’re reading this, I’m going to guess that you’ve experienced burnout at some point in your life.  You may be reaching that point right NOW. 

If that’s the case, I’m so glad you’re here.  Burnout can totally derail your life in more ways than one.  Burnout negatively affects your health, relationships and overall sense of well-being… and unfortunately, it can be really hard to recover from!  Many of us have become used to the cycle of burnout as a lifestyle, making it just another thing we deal with in our overly-packed, stressful lives.

I don’t know about you, but I HATE the feeling of just barely staying afloat, that line we toe when burnout is right on the other side, and we’re juuuust barely eking by.

I don’t think life has to be that way.  

So what the heck can you do when instead you feel burnout creeping in?

Here are my best tips about how to stop burnout in its tracks.

Identify.

Burnout usually happens with a gradual overload of energy-sucking tasks over a prolonged period of time.  It’s not an isolated incident- so there will always be breadcrumbs you can follow to discover how the heck you got to the point of burnout or overwhelm. 

The first step to avoiding burnout is identifying the problem. 

Tap into your feelings and honestly ask yourself- if you continue down this path, are you headed towards burnout?  If so, congratulations!  You’ve identified you have a problem.  That’s the first step to fixing it.  

Once you’ve identified your circumstances, it’s time to take note of what’s changed in your life to lead you this way. 

Many times burnout occurs when something changes about our workload or life circumstances (like having a child, losing or changing jobs, or a global pandemic…) and we don’t change to accommodate our new needs. 

When life changes, we need to change with it.  It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to perform the way you used to when your life has changed.  Once you can identify the reason for the overload, you can decide to claim a new reality.

Claim what you want.

Now that you’ve identified the cause of your path to burnout, it’s time to decide what you want for your life instead. 

This step is crucial in avoiding burnout because it inspires action.  If you don’t take the time to decide what you want to show up in the place of your current circumstances, you’ll have a much harder time breaking the cycle.  Our brains like to have tangible goals.  Telling yourself to ‘avoid burnout’ doesn’t necessarily help you take the steps you need to steer clear of it. Claim what you want instead and you’ll know where to shift your focus when you’re headed down the path of burnout and overwhelm.

Clear space.

Now that you’ve claimed what you want to show up in your life in lieu of your current path, it’s time to clear out everything that’s keeping you stuck on the burnout path and realign.  This involves some tough love for yourself and you schedule.  You don’t have time and energy for everything you’ve currently committed to.  That’s why you’re feeling overwhelmed!  What can you eliminate from your schedule and life that’s no longer aligned with your goals?  Do you have any old habits can be reevaluated or changed to better support you?  What can you say ‘no’ to in order to say ‘yes’ to your well-being? 

Calibrate.

Once you’ve set some of these boundaries for yourself to protect your new path from burnout, it’s time to take action. 

No plan is perfect, and the only way you’ll know if your new path is going to help you avoid burnout is to try it and pay attention.  Notice your energy levels and how well you’re able to focus.  Are you seeing improvements in your emotional state and wellbeing?  If the answer is no, it’s time to reevaluate.  Every good plan requires some tweaking, so allow yourself some space to let it evolve with you as you learn more about what you want and need.

Reevaluate.

As you’re on your way to avoiding burnout, make sure you check in with yourself constantly.  Get acquainted with the feelings in your body that signal stress and burnout.  Your feelings help you take the temperature of your actions to decide if the prescription is working.  ‘Take your temperature’ often and stay connected with how you want to feel.  When your feelings are consistently pointing to stress and burnout it’s time to make a new plan.

Self-Care.

Lastly, it’s essential to go through this whole process with an attitude and energy of self-love and self-care.  You are the only one who can decide to stop and re-route when you’re headed to burnout.  You deserve to feel supported and cared for at all times in your life, so take action consistently to reinforce this idea: You are worthy of love and care and a life without burnout!

 

This process you learned to combat burnout isn’t a one-trick pony.  This is the EXACT process I use to change anything and everything in my life and in the lives of my clients.  For more details about how to use this process in all areas of your life, check out my free mini-course called How To Change Anything>>

How We Cut Our Grocery Bill By 50%

We saved over $600 on groceries and never felt deprived. Here’s how:

When this little experiment began, I thought of our household as a relatively frugal one:

We don’t eat out very much, we shop at ‘inexpensive’ places and my partner and I don’t struggle with impulse-buying.

I honestly didn’t think we were spending that much money each month on groceries until I broke our budget up into categories.  This revealed a startling truth: we spent MOST of our money each month (outside of necessary expenses like the mortgage and utilities) on one specific category: FOOD.

Since I love a good experiment (especially if it saves me time or money), I convinced my partner to join me in the simple task: let’s see how much money we can save on groceries in one month!

And so it began.  I was extremely surprised to discover we not only cut our grocery bill in half, but we also didn’t feel deprived in the process.  In fact, I’m going to be continuing this experiment in the months ahead to see how much money we can save this year.

Okay, I’ll get on with how the heck we did it. 

Here’s what we did to save money (about $600 in a month!!) on our grocery bill:

1. We got honest about the numbers. 

It’s impossible to track the progress of a goal if you don’t have a snapshot of where you are at the beginning of your task. My partner and I sat down at the beginning of the month, pulled up our credit card statement and recorded the numbers.  We included coffee (which we have a subscription for), alcohol and also ALL dining out in our overall grocery budget.  Basically all consumables outside of vitamins were included in this number.  

We were STUNNED to discover our total from the previous month was around $1200.  Now, some of that spending was due to a holiday, but STILL.  This figure seemed REALLY high.  

Since we didn’t have any numbers to  compare it to, I began to poll our friends and family about their spending habits.  Our circle ranged everywhere from about $575 per month to $1200 per month.  Some of the lower numbers came in from our budget-minded friends and family members so that explains THAT.  Another factor that impacted grocery spend in our circle was how carnivorous the household was – our vegetarians spent less on groceries overall because they weren’t spending the extra dollars on meat.

A little back-story here, my partner and I eat more (I think) than the average 2-person household.  Connor is a former bodybuilder and still (for the most part) maintains a high-protein diet of around 4 meals per day (down from 5 meals in his competition days).  I’m a gal that loves hard workouts and FOOD, and in my experience, my appetite dwarfs that of most people I spend time with.  (Which was anxiety-inducing as a girl… but that’s a story for another time).  

Since we’re aware of our voluminous food-consumption, we referenced our friends in the fitness world and their numbers were closer to ours: their budget comes in at $1200/month.

After a quick google-search, I discovered the average household in MN spends around $567/month on groceries.  

Armed with this information, I knew we could PROBABLY save a couple hundred dollars per month if we really paid attention to it.

2. We made intentional lists ahead of time with a ‘do we need this’ filter.

Making lists ahead of time really helped us cut our grocery bill.  The key to this was the added question: do we actually need this?  We made our grocery lists together using my favorite list-app Microsoft To-do.  We made sure to come together in our kitchen so we could accurately assess the levels of our hoard before adding anything to the list, and always tried to do this when we weren’t already hungry (this helps!!). Finally, we followed each addition to our list with the question: do we actually need this??

It was amazing how many times we eliminated items from our list and ended up not missing them.  One regularly shopped item that got the axe was andouille chicken-sausages from Costco.  We would always buy them when they were in stock, but I haven’t for a second missed having them in my refrigerator (or my stomach).

3. We bought foods and food-prepped for multiple meals in a mix-and-match style.

This third tactic for limiting our grocery spending brought me back to the days when we were BOTH bodybuilding (LORD, I do not miss those days…)

When we made our lists for this month-long spending experiment, we took a page out of the old body-building book and edited it for our purposes: how do we get the most volume with the least amount of dollars (in bodybuilding days it was how do we get the most volume for the least amount of CALORIES – it was a dark time).

We bought items like bulk chicken and made multiple meal plans with it that didn’t involve a lot of extra ingredients.  An example would be: we baked a full cookie sheet of chicken tenderloins, and used them for asian stir-fry dinners, thai soup lunches, covered them with sauce and ate them next to a bed of rice and sauteed veggies.  The more  versatile your ingredients are, the better.  Especially when you’re buying for a household of two.

4. We shopped smarter: Costco + rewards, Aldi vs. Cub.

This was a surprising revelation in our shopping habits: Aldi groceries are almost HALF the cost of the same/mostly similar items at Cub Foods.  I was shocked.  Now, the problem with Aldi is they don’t carry ALL the foods we require, so we always had to pick up a thing or two from Cub- but with curbside pickup this is a breeze.  

We’re also avid Costco-shoppers and with a little research we found that this was one habit we were doing half-right.  Buying organic chicken and organic produce in bulk from Costco is a MUCH better deal than anywhere else.  The trick is figuring out how much your family of two can get through in a week or two (before it goes bad) and only buying what you actually need.  This has taken some practice, but we now know how many packages of veggies and fruits we need to get us through a week without anything spoiling or running out prematurely.

We also paid attention to which types of fruits and veggies gave us the most bang for our buck and reduced our spending on the more expensive varieties.

An additional perk of being a Costco shopper is their Citi Costco rewards credit card.  It’s the only credit card we use for our household and it gives us cashback on groceries, gas, travel and basically every purchase!!  We get about $600-$700 of cash back every year.  If this fits into your goals, you can learn more about it here.

A note here: I will also add that we are a family who values high-quality organic foods, which has definitely affected our spending habits.  Throughout this experiment in lowering our grocery bill we didn’t sacrifice quality, but in many cases we did reduce QUANTITY, which ended up being part of our success.

So if you’re thinking you’re going to have to sacrifice your organic fruits and high-quality meats, I’m here to tell you, you WON’T.  But, you may have to cut back on the frequency with which you indulge in the more expensive items on your list.

5. I mined our cupboards.

To my surprise, our pantry cupboard had all sorts of treasures in it that could be creatively combined for a delicious meal.  I tried to choose one old item from our cupboards to build a meal around each week to work through our pantry non-perishables. Some examples were a delicious chickpea-pasta dinner, and a thai curry meal.

6. We broke old habits.

We all have eating habits.  One of mine (and my Partner’s) is to construct our meals in a very specific way: heavy protein, 1-2 servings of a carb (like rice, pasta or bread), and a serving or so of a low-carb vegetable.  These old habits were definitely carried over from our bodybuilding days and all-in-all they’re pretty healthy… except they don’t allow for much leeway in the intuitive eating department.  I found myself better able to let go of this old pattern and indulge in a few differently-balanced meals to suit our new goals: save money and feel good about it.  To my surprise, I felt MORE satisfied with the variety I allowed myself and my waistline didn’t seem to mind either ;).  The occasional grilled ham and cheese sandwich or pasta dinner was a refreshing change from my perfectly-macro-friendly meals I’d become accustomed to.  #living

Another old habit that each of us reconsidered (and I certainly don’t miss) is our reliance on protein powders and protein bars to supplement our meals.  Each of us used to use protein powder every day at breakfast and eat about a protein bar per day.  We were budget-conscious in our protein supplement choices: his protein powder was bought from Costco and averages about 80 cents per day in the amount he consumes, mine was a popular collagen supplement which averages about $1 per day.  I decided to try eating REAL FOOD for most of my meals instead of my post-workout protein bar, and halved the collagen in my morning coffee and have felt great.  Connor still has his morning protein powder but has cut his protein bar intake back by about 60%.

My protein bars were VERY expensive (they’re raw, vegan and Gluten-free) so at around $3 a pop (on discount with a subcription), I eliminated them from our budget and haven’t missed them.  In fact, I find myself less bloated and more satisfied when I eat normal food throughout the day rather than relying on supplements.

7. We ordered groceries online ONLY ONCE PER WEEK in order to see a running total and minimize trips.

Ordering food online has drastically cut our grocery spending because we’re able to see a running total of the items we’ve shopped as we go.  This has SEVERAL times encouraged me to eliminate the $6 gluten-free cookies I’ve added to the cart in favor of more satisfying indulgences like the occasional (okay DAILY) squares of dark chocolate.  

Costco doesn’t do online ordering where we live, so when we venture into the store for a weekly shop, we stick to the list and avoid impulse buys.  When we’re distracted by a ‘shiny object’ we take a picture and think about it for a week.  Usually by the time we go back we don’t feel the need to buy it anymore.

Limiting our grocery trips to only once per week definitely contributed to our success in this experiment.  It forced us to plan ahead, and eliminated the sometimes expensive ‘I’ll stop in to pick up just one thing…’ Target runs that inevitably turn into a 4-5 item purchase.

8. We limited eating out.

At the time I’m writing this we’re still in the middle of a pandemic so it’s not necessarily hard to cut back on dining out.  We put a limit on this months ago and stuck to it this month: only ordering delivery 2-3 X per month.  This month we really weighed the craving vs. convenience aspect.  If we were genuinely craving food from our local Middle Eastern restaurant, we ordered it.  If we were just being lazy and not wanting to cook our own food, we sucked it up and raided our refrigerator.

9. We eliminated alcohol.

You might have noticed at the beginning of this article that we include alcohol in our grocery budget.  We decided to do a little detox this month along with this grocery experiment that has accounted for over $150 of our savings.  Limiting your alcohol consumption or at least keeping your spending under a certain number (set a rule!!) can drastically reduce your grocery budget.

Alright, that was a NOVEL and congratulations to you if you made it to the end!   If you’re looking to spend less money on groceries and even cut your grocery spending in HALF, I hope these tips are helpful to you.  Please reach out if you have any questions!

 

Looking to make changes in other areas of your life?  You’d probably love the free mini-course:

How To Deal With Stress From Social Media

With our work, relationships and lives becoming more dependent on technology, our sources of stress are shifting too.  Social media is one sneaky aspect of that stress that many of us have mixed feelings about.  We want to stay connected with friends and family, it’s VERY socially acceptable and encouraged (despite advice from The Social Dilemma), and for many of us, it’s the only way we are consistently communicating with one another.

All that aside, the social media stress is REAL, and there are some really simple and actionable ways to deal with it.  Here are some tips for dealing with stress from social media.

First things first – it’s helpful to understand the stress response in your brain and body. 

Simply put, our social media interactions, when left unchecked, are patterned very similarly to a habit:

1. we experience a stimulus: a notification badge, a ding, or a visual cue like your phone screen lighting up.

2. we have a brain + body response: Our brain gets a hit of dopamine because it’s been stimulated, and our curiosity is piqued.  Our body feels a rush and we get the impulse to act. 

3. We react to the stimulus and the feelings by grabbing our phone/switching browser tabs to check or respond to the notification.

This pattern isn’t unhealthy or stressful in and of itself, it’s just chemistry.  The stress comes from a couple things: First,  the constant interaction/disruption from our devices, and second, a phenomenon many experts are calling technostress.

Both of these are important to understand so I’ll start with the interruption/distraction. Our brains are not designed to handle constant input of information and distraction that is common with social media use.  It’s exhausting for our brains to process the images, videos, text, and information overload we get by scrolling through our social media feeds and studies show, this frequent technological multi-tasking is negatively affecting our ability to focus on any specific task for a prolonged period of time.  This might seem like a small problem, but when it comes time to try to focus on something and get it done, social media users may experience heightened stress at how difficult it is to focus and follow-through.

Secondly, let’s better understand technostress.  The stimulus-response cycle we experience when we see notifications and respond to them creates feedback loops in the brain that tell us (subconsciously), to keep checking our devices for more stuff, even if we’re feeling stressed out by the activity.  Scientists are calling this phenomenon technostress – which I’ve deconstructed in this article if you want to learn more.

It’s pretty clear our social media use is stressing us out, but how the heck do we deal with it? 

Many of us are not willing to downgrade to a flip-phone and communicate via snail-mail, so here are some ways to deal with stress from social media and still live your digitally connected life (in an intentional way):

1. Set limits on your tech use internally and externally.

This is a basic exercise in setting boundaries with yourself and your technology and is an excellent place to start.  (If you want to be guided through this process, check out this free 5-day social media detox).  To set limits on your tech use so you can better deal with social media stress, it’s essential to understand what it is about your use that’s causing your stress in the first place. 

I recommend making a list of what’s stressing you out – whether it be certain people, ideas, exhaustion from use, or maybe you aren’t sure yet and you’re just stressed and don’t know why.  (That’s okay too!) Once you’ve identified your stressors, it’s time to make an agreement with yourself.  What would you like your social media use to look like?  What would make it less stressful for you?  How many minutes per day do you want to devote to your feeds?  Once you’ve decided, write these new ideas down somewhere, and set limits with the help of your technology. 

All smartphones have app timers so you can choose to automatically log yourself out at after a specified amount of time. If you’re sneaky with yourself and will login on your desktop after your phone timers run out, you can check out the app Freedom – it allows you to set timers for all your browser tabs and even block yourself from certain websites.  They have a free trial if you want to check it out. Set these timers and limits and stick to them.  When you get the urge to add more time and stay online, remember you made the decision to cut back to decrease your stress from social media, so it’s an act of self-love and self-care to log off.  Sticking to it might seem hard at first, but once you’ve decided it’s what you’re doing, it might be a welcome relief and reminder when the timer goes off and logs you out.

For more ideas about how to set limits and make your technology work for you, check out this article outlining how to do a digital detox.

2. Find a support group or buddy. 

FOMO is a real thing when it comes to dealing with stress from social media.  We’ve gotten used to seeing everyone’s highlight reel and it keeps us coming back for more every time we’re on our phones.  Find a support group of others who are feeling stressed out with their social media use and share your feelings and your goals (ideally in a direct-message format).  This will help you feel more supported in the process and when things get stressful you have someone to turn to rather than defaulting to the most stressful activity of social media: the cyclical scroll.

(I have a free community centered around setting healthy boundaries for better relationships with yourself and your loved ones where we talk about social media a fair amount.  Join for free below:

3. Communicate about what you’re doing.

In your process of finding support, it’s important to communicate with others about what you’re doing.  Saying it out loud helps with accountability and it will reduce the stress related to worrying about what others will think of your new social media habits.  Tell others in a post that you’re feeling stressed and what you’re doing about it.  Be clear with your friends and family and you’ll most likely find some support you never knew was there.

4. Take a break.

The best way to deal with stress from social media is to know thyself: are you someone who needs to quit something cold-turkey in order to reset?  Or are you someone who does well with creating rules and goals for a new habit and sticking to them on your own?  Are you best supported by a group or a buddy?  Are you self-motivated?  Whatever version you are, you’ve gotta be realistic with yourself and set goals that support your natural way of being or it just won’t work. 

Sometimes having some space away from social media can help you get clear on what you actually want and need – and research shows that even ONE day away from your technology can help lessen the stress response associated with the use of apps and social media.  Take a day off.  Take a week off.  Take a month off!  Spend some time analyzing how you feel, and use these questions to dive in: 

what does my SM provide for me? 

Are there less stressful ways to get the same results? 

5. Have compassion for yourself.

We’re all struggling with the same addictions and stressors when it comes to social media use.  It’s an industry that works hard to keep your attention and get you to re-engage with it over and over again when you decide to step away.  Know that you’re not alone, and you WILL slip back into your old habits from time to time!  (That’s okay, you’re human).  Keep a pulse on how you’re feeling and adjust your social media use as-needed.  Remember not to beat yourself up in the process – you’re doing amazing work and ahead of the curve just for researching this topic. 

Want some extra support?  Schedule a free call with me:

3 Signs Of Unhealthy Boundaries

If you’d like to listen to this article in Podcast form check it out here:

Healthy boundaries aren’t something many of us think about on a daily basis. The D.A.R.E. drug dog comes to mind when I think of boundaries: JUST SAY NO!

Childhood smoking aside, boundaries are much more vast than saying NO to harmful substances. Healthy boundaries, when correctly created and enforced, help you protect your time and energy, get what you want, and live life on your own terms.

It’s commonplace to hear statements like: ‘If only I had the time’, or ‘I just don’t have the energy or motivation’. I’d challenge each statement to say, you DO have the time, and the reason it feels like there’s no time and you’re out of energy is that your precious resources aren’t being protected. When you start to hear these excuses in your head, there’s probably an opportunity for enforcing healthier boundaries.

Here are a few signs of unhealthy boundaries you can use to check in with yourself.

Want to discover where you’re at on the healthy-boundaries spectrum?  Take the quiz here.

There are three common signs of unhealthy boundaries:

  1. Over-Committing.

Over-committing is often paired with a knee-jerk ‘yes’ response. Many of us don’t realize we’re over-committing until our minds are fuzzy, we’re late for our next meeting, and projects start to slip through the cracks. Over-committing leads to feelings of ‘not enough’- there’s not enough time, you don’t have enough energy, and your to-do list is daunting and never-ending. If you’re someone who over-commits, you’ll often end up resenting some of your commitments even though you made the decision to commit in the first place. Over-committing points to an opportunity for healthier boundaries around your time, energy, and clearer insight about what’s important to you and what’s not. Once that picture of what you want is really clear, it’s easier to do the editing required to align with what you actually want to show up in your life.

2. Exhaustion following conversations and interactions with certain people.

The second sign of unhealthy boundaries is exhaustion following interactions with certain people. Sure, you’re not going to enjoy talking to everyone – but if there are certain people in your life who leave you feeling exhausted after every interaction, there’s probably an opportunity for better boundaries. Relationships that result in exhausting interactions require inner emotional boundaries and external communicated ones. Inner boundaries involve protecting your energy and deciding how you want to feel ahead of time (I have a great guided visualization for that here), and outer boundaries involve speaking your truth in situations where your energy and values might be violated, and speaking clearly about what’s appropriate in a conversation and what isn’t. Enforcing healthy boundaries DOES take energy, so it’s essential to prepare yourself for interactions like these as an act of self-love and self-care.

3. People-Pleasing.

The third sign of unhealthy boundaries is a common midwest personality trait: People-pleasing. Where I live we call this Minnesota-nice. Since I’m not an MN native, I’ve been able to witness and study this fake-nice phenomenon without the deeply-rooted social programming many people have here.  While it’s an over-simplification to say that every ‘nice’ person in Minnesota is passive-aggressive, I’ve seen lots of evidence that the overly-nice nature is actually the result of a boundary-issue. Minnesota-nice and people-pleasing are essentially the same and look like this:

I’m going to be nice to your face, and be who you want me to be when we’re with each other, and then go talk about how horrible and demanding you are to someone else. I want you to like me, so I’ll do what you ask and ‘play your game’ so to speak, but I’m not happy about it.

This is a boundary-issue. Performing a task or ‘playing nice’ because you’re primarily concerned with what others will think of you when you don’t, means you’re living according to everyone else’s rules and expectations. In a sense, you’ve removed yourself from your personal thermometer of wants, needs, energy levels, and desires to give someone else what they expect of you. This opportunity for a boundary makeover is twofold: inner boundaries need to be enforced around an awareness of what you want and need, and outer boundaries need to be communicated – ‘yes I will do this for you (but on my terms)’, or ‘no I will not’.

These boundary-issues are by no means an exhaustive list. There are many signs and opportunities to build better boundaries and transform old ones to fit each new expression of our lives.

Are you working on setting healthier boundaries in your life?  There’s a free community for that!

Productivity, time well spent, access to energy, emotional support, satisfying relationships, and great conversations all have ONE thing in common: healthy boundaries. I’ve created a free community that’s a supportive, educational environment for people who want to create and use healthy boundaries. Boundaries are so much more than saying ‘no’. When used correctly, they help us get everything we want in the most supportive way possible.

How To Do A Digital Detox

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They have a name for the type of tech-user I used to be: The Constant Checker.

According to the American Psychological Association, in recent years a type of technology user has emerged called the ‘constant checker’.

The bottom line is this: our devices are addictive, we’re always on them, and it’s stressing us out.

Turn your screen to Grayscale.

Set time limits for your social media accounts (and DON’T extend them).

Make a plan for what you’re going to do INSTEAD of scrolling, checking email, and texting.

Turn off your notifications.

Keep your phone out of your bedroom.

Set ‘cell phone hours’ for yourself and your family.

Schedule 30 minutes of intentional, non-screen time each day.