The Price of Self-Care and Boundaries
The term “self-care” has become commonplace; it is often the subject of comedy and banter. By now everyone has heard of self-care. However, it is difficult to put it into action without some personal, professional or social price to be paid. Setting boundaries is often the first step to self-care.
Paying the Price in Personal Relationships
In one of Tyler Perry’s movies (
“Madea Goes To Jail”) there is a dialogue with Madea and her niece Cora about “What is Me Time?” Cora starts out politely asking Madea for some “me time,” but she is quickly shut down by her overbearing Aunt, who comically portrays what many people face when trying to set limits with others, a part of self-care. We laugh when viewing scenes like this because we all can identify – the struggle is real! Sometimes the price we pay is reproach and rejection from family and friends who do not understand.
Social and Professional Consequences when Setting Boundaries
What about the recent events of professional athletes who are faced with mental health struggles and wish to set boundaries for self-care? Naomi Osaka, a 23 year old professional tennis player, was just penalized by the organizers of the French Open Grand Slam match who fined her $15,000 for refusing to speak to reporters following her match due to anxiety. Additionally, she withdrew from the French Open specifically citing mental health reasons with the increased anxiety of speaking to reporters following her matches. She is a top athlete but has struggled with depression and anxiety. She is setting a good example of how to prioritize her self-care, even when she literally has to pay a price for setting limits.
How Can I Be More Assertive With Self-Care?
When was the last time you faced a challenge with self-care? Did you pay a price for setting boundaries or trying to establish some “me time”? Are you worried about the reactions of family, friends or your boss at work? Have you fluctuated between being too passive or too aggressive with your attempts at self-care? Does your culture add extra expectations that prevent you from setting boundaries?
It may be helpful to first think about what happens if you do not implement good boundaries or take steps towards self-care. Emotional burnout will eventually lead to physical decline and problems with mental clarity and performance at work. When you think about it, there is always a price to be paid. Only you know what you are feeling inside and can be your own best advocate. The first attempts at speaking up may be hard, but with practice you can get better at it. Many of my clients are in counseling with me to receive coaching in this area. If this is something you would like to work on with professional support, consider contacting me.