Importance of Setting Boundaries

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One thing that I have always struggled with is setting boundaries. I was too busy with being concerned about people liking me and avoiding conflict. Now that I’m self-reflecting, I have realized now more than ever how essential setting boundaries are. Not only does it help prevent conversations that make you uncomfortable, but it also keeps your privacy to yourself. The fewer people that know your business, the less likely you have to worry about information getting out. I came up with four steps to help with setting new boundaries within your relationships.

Decide Which Boundaries to Set
Before you can set boundaries, you need to determine what your limits need to be. Get a pen and paper to write down your limits and to whom each category represents. For example, finances and dating are off-limits to parents for discussion. Follow this exercise for others, such as friends, acquaintances, and coworkers. Doing this will help with oversharing information as well. Conversations should be a dance, and if it’s turning into a solo act, you’re sharing too much. Having boundaries will help you with not sharing details before it’s safe to do so.

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Start Implementation of Your Boundaries
Now here comes the fun part of implementing the new boundaries that you set. It won’t be easy at first, but people will learn to adjust over time. You will most likely get backlash from folks closest to you but stick with it. People who love you will respect your boundaries after some time. Start with someone who will be least resistant to your limits. That will give you the confidence to continue down this new path. Don’t give up easily if people start to provide you with a hard time. People will try to see how far they can go, but enforcing your boundaries will let them that’s not possible.

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Continue to Reinforce Your Boundaries
The best way to keep people on board with your boundaries is to continue to enforce them. Once someone tries to overstep, you have to shut it down immediately. Also, people need to know there are consequences to their actions. For example, if you told someone that dating was off-limits and they continue to push, the result is that they don’t get to speak with you. I understand that sounds harsh, but you have to put your foot down. People need to respect the boundaries you have set forth. However, if you don’t consistently enforce your limits, people will walk all over you. You have to be intentional for people to understand why your boundaries are vital for them to follow.

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Reassess Your Boundaries as Needed
As life changes, so should your boundaries. There may be new topics to add or old ones to remove. Whichever way it goes, continue to reevaluate your boundaries. Make sure you do this often to avoid conflict when a topic comes up that you weren’t expecting. For example, a newly married couple will receive unsolicited advice from different people. It can even become overwhelming at times. When a new life event like this occurs, your boundaries need to include it. That way, people will understand that every new life event is not up for discussion. If you do decide to share, it will be your choice to do so.

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Setting boundaries can sound scary if you never did it before. It can seem like a difficult undertaking at first, but it’s worth it in the end. I recently started implementing boundaries, and it’s working out great. I’m not forcing myself to discuss or do things I’m not necessarily comfortable doing. The beautiful thing about boundaries is that it helped me improve my self-care and improve my overall mental health. Boundaries are helpful because it sets expectations of what topics you will share and which ones are off-limits. Don’t look at it as a bad thing, but something beneficial in the long run.

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Be sure to check out the discussion questions below before you go, and I’ll chat with you in the next blog.

Do you have boundaries set up? What type of challenges did you face while implementing your limits? 

Quarantine Life Part 2: Glow Up

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With all the time we have to think and focus on what’s to come. Now is the best time to work on the things you’ve been putting off. There’s only so much television, social media, and phone conversations you can have. At some point, you have to take action. While everyone else is focusing on mundane things, you can be working on your glow up. Yes, there is no time like the present. I was moping around complaining about what I’m going to do? There’s only so much working and Netflix I can take. Besides the fact of being alive (Thank God), I have too much free time to waste. I’m not bashing anyone who may feel that surviving is good enough for them. I hope nobody feels slighted or ridiculed in any way. This post is for those people who want to glow up and need an extra incentive to do so.

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Fitness

I’ve been talking about wanting to work out again for a while. I felt the pounds coming on, and I was over it! Through the power of the Internet (via Facebook), my former boot camp coach contacted me after reading my comment about exercising. It started as a 21-day calorie quarantine crusher challenge. I’m currently on the 21-day 2.0 version, and this week I started the healthy living portion of the program. I’m addicted to working out again in a short amount of time. I’ve continuously been exercising since April 6th. I lost 4 inches so far, and I can’t believe how strong I’m becoming. I’m pushing myself like I never have before. I have more motivation behind why I’m taking this fitness journey seriously this time around. I may or may not share some time in the future. My main point is to set a realistic goal of getting into shape, and you’ll become addicted as well. Fitness has helped to improve my mood, which brings me to my next point of self-care.

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Self-Care

I speak about therapy often on this blog, so there’s no surprise why it’s apart of this post. Mental health issues are skyrocketing during this time. The self-isolation alone is enough to drive anyone crazy. Be sure to check in with yourself daily. Whether you decide to seek therapy or not, you need to have an outlet. The self-isolation isn’t the time to hold your emotions in as it can have dire consequences. You can journal as well if you don’t feel comfortable sharing with others. Anything to express how you feel will do wonders. The main point is to get rid of those negative thoughts in your head. Be careful how you speak to yourself and what you allow yourself to hear. Negative talk can seep into your brain and get into your sub-conscience. Then ultimately, it will manifest into disruptive behaviors. Now is a perfect time to work on self-care if that’s an area that needs improvement. You have loads of time to practice, so get to it!

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Career

I wrote a few posts back about my plans to get a new job this year. I started the process, but so far it hasn’t panned out. Rejection is redirection into an area I need to be. I began to look inward at my network for a job as I would like to have a regression proof career. That regardless of what’s going on in the world, I would still be able to support myself. I had two informational interviews so far, and I’m currently working on the third. I struggled to try to secure these networking opportunities before coronavirus, but now it’s happening—the exact definition of a blessing in disguise. Based on the feedback I received, I need to get additional training under my belt to aid in securing a new job. It will show future employers that I’m capable and ready for the new role. I know which training I need to take because it’s what’s required/most requested. This information is critical because, without these informational interviews, I wouldn’t have known. When the next job prospects come along, I’ll be more prepared. My biggest takeaway was if I want to get to the next level, then utilize my network. You never know who someone knows or how that one interaction can bring you closer to your dreams.

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Finances

It is sad to hear on the news about the unemployment numbers. I’m grateful I can work from home and still receive a paycheck. The quarantine shed light for me about how I need to create a better financial safety net for myself. As the old saying goes, if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready. I recently checked my 401(k) to see when the last time I re-balanced it. (If you aren’t familiar with the term, research it.) That is something that you should check periodically. You have to change your elections to receive the maximum benefit. Any safety net you create has to be under constant review. The safety nets include (in addition to 401(k)) Roth IRA, savings account, CD, stocks and bonds, 529 plans, Simple IRA, SEP IRA, traditional IRA, and Roth 401(k) to name a few. I’m not trying to provide any financial advice. This information is provided strictly as informational, and it’s up to you to decide what’s best for you and your family. Having these safety nets removes the worry about what will happen in the event of an economic downturn. Even if you aren’t in a position to participate now, you can still learn for later use. The more you know, the more informed financial decisions you can make in the future.

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Your idea of glowing up can be completely different from mine, but you get the picture. It is a blessing to have this much free time on your heads. You can concentrate on all the things that you swept under the rug. Glowing up isn’t limited to clothing/appearance (I have purchased new clothes, so stay tuned world) but about what you’re feeding your mind and soul. I’m going to leave you with a quote my fitness coach told me. “If you don’t feel like doing something, then now is the best time to start.” I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Now go out there and glow up like a diamond!

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Don’t forget to check out the discussion question before you go, and I’ll see you in the next post.

How do you plan on glowing up during this quarantine?

Quarantine Life Part 1: Relationships

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I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted here. It’s been a lot trying to get through the current stay at home order. I’ve observed something about relationships during this quarantine life. I’m going to write a three-part series, including this post about my direct and indirect experiences that the quarantine life has impacted. I was in a relationship before this coronavirus changed our lives drastically. Once the stay at home order started my relationship eventually changed. I let him stay with me (in hindsight, that was a bad idea)for three weeks. Honestly, I learned an infinite amount about myself into two categories, what I did well and what needs improvement. I realized within those three weeks how incompatible we were. He was happy as he got everything he wanted, but my needs not so much.

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There were red flags that kept coming up that I tried to look past. Let’s say something came up that I couldn’t ignore anymore. With the help of the quarantine, it allowed us to speed things up and notice that we weren’t right for each other. No love lost as you live and learn. The pro to this situation is that it saved me heartache later on. I discovered this information in less than two months as opposed to four/five months down the line. That sounds like a blessing to me. I’ve never lived with a man before, so that was a significant growing pain for me. I have to be with someone I’m compatible with, as it will be much easier to compromise within a relationship. When you’re with someone, you have a deep connection with compromising will come naturally. Unfortunately, my newfound relationship was short lived. I gained knowledge that now I know the changes I’m making are in the right direction. Now I need to find someone I’m more connected with, and that will be my last relationship (God willing!).

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I notice that relationships are taking a toll during this time as well. I heard my neighbors arguing across the hall the other week. I never want to be in a relationship like that. The way the woman was yelling at her boyfriend, I thought I was in trouble. Sorry not sorry, but if someone can yell at you, then it’s time to go. I always believed that if someone could yell, then they can raise their hand to you. I don’t have time for either situation, so I’m out, no, thank you. I can see why domestic violence is going up if this is the situation folks are experiencing. I know a few people who’s relationships have ended due to the quarantine. I guess their relationship couldn’t handle the proximity to each other. That’s something I don’t understand either. If you’re with someone you can’t stand, then how did the relationship occur? The new criteria to add to your dating questionnaire is, can you be quarantine with this person? If the answer is no, then keep it moving. You’re going to be spending massive amounts of time with this person, so you should want to be around them.

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Stop getting into relationships with people you only spent limited amount of time getting to know. I have a few coworkers who were complaining about not being back at work. I asked them why, and the response was they couldn’t stand their spouse. Again I’m confused as to why a person would marry someone they don’t like. The quarantine life is going to show different aspects of a relationship. Either it’s stable, and this situation will only make things healthier, or the relationship will be coming apart at the seams. Of course, this time will be difficult on everyone, and it’s essential to be with someone who will help you through this event. I suffer from anxiety, and while I was still in my relationship, it took a beating. It was something about that relationship that was bothering my spirit. God has a way of telling us things if we would only listen. It took me going through that rough patch to realize it was time to move on. Better late than never as it could’ve been worst.

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Being in the home 24/7 is an emotional blow to anyone, particularly those who suffer from mental health issues. My anxiety was through the roof for the first few weeks of the stay at home order. I would have panic attacks, and I had trouble sleeping. What has been a tremendous help to me is exercising, yoga, meditation, reading, writing, virtual happy hours, and my all-time favorite therapy. There are so many other things you could be doing during this time. I’m sure there is something you want to do that you’ve been putting off. Now is the perfect time as any to focus on those goals that have been on the back burner. The bright side of this is that it will give you something else to discuss. Talking about the same thing over and over becomes tedious, especially during this time. Bringing something else to the table will break up the monotony. Let’s try something different since you don’t have anything better to do. You mind as well be more constructive with your time. I saw someone who made a dress and put braids in her hair, thanks to YouTube University. Be creative and Glow Up! By the way, that’s the title of the second part of this series.

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Don’t forget to get involved in the discussion questions below:

Has the quarantine impacted your relationships in a positive or negative light?
What steps are you taking to help keep yourself sane during this time?

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Career Advancement

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I’m at a crossroads currently within my career. I want to move to the next level but unsure of how to get there. My current team doesn’t have any job opportunities at the moment. That is furthering my confusion on the next steps that I should take. I had to sit with myself to come up with solutions to improve my current situation. I came up with a list of four things that I employed right now to help improve my career prospects. I hope that this list works for you, or in the comment section below, you can tell me what tips you will use or which ones you currently use.

Hire a Career Coach

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Hiring a career coach may or may not work for everyone, but it was a game-changer for me. It has been years since I last applied for positions. I wasn’t sure what employers were looking for in terms of a resume. I needed help updating my resume properly, interviewing skills, job searches, and working on past issues that could impact me from getting hired (confidence & mental health issues). A lot has changed since I last interviewed, and the knowledge that I gained was a tremendous help. My resume look 100% times better. That reminds me that I need to make an update to my Linkedln page to reflect the recent changes I made. I started going on job interviews. I haven’t gotten the jobs that I’ve wanted, but I’m making significant progress. I know the right position will come along, but in the meantime, I won’t stop looking for the next opportunity.

Updated My Wardrobe

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You know what they say dress for success or dress for the job you want. Making new tweaks to my clothes not only empowered me gave me new-found confidence but also people took me more seriously. Let’s be honest people judge your appearance. Based on your clothes, if you don’t look presentable, then you’re perceived as unreliable and disingenuous. As superficial as it sounds, if you don’t dress the part, then you won’t get the part. With that in mind, don’t give anyone any reason to use anything against you. There are plenty of budget-friendly places you can use to update your wardrobe as necessary.

Invest in Yourself

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I started to educate myself while reading more books and looking into certifications to further my career. One book that helped me the most is called ” 7 Healthy Habits of Highly Effective People.” I realized that I needed to make myself better for this next chapter in my life. I need to work on my time management skills and setting my goals/expectations more effectively. If you need more information on this, there’s so much information available at your fingertips. There’s no excuse for working yourself to exhaustion when you could be bettering yourself in the process. Don’t be afraid to change things about yourself that may be holding you back. We all have to be continually improving ourselves as that’s what’s going to help us win.

Ask for Honest Feedback

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I understand that harsh criticism from others can be triggering. However, if we don’t receive honest feedback, we won’t be able to make adjustments. For example, the feedback I received over a year ago from a review stated I needed to work on my tone when I would speak with people at work. Unfortunately, microaggression is a real thing (research that if you aren’t familiar with the term), so when someone who looks like me says something that can appear aggressive, it’s out of context. If I were a man, it would be an utterly different story. I realized this could be holding me back from moving forward. It took a year to work on this, but I’m pleased to report that in my latest review, my efforts paid off. It was a good feeling to know that my hard work was acknowledged. Had I not asked for the feedback, I would’ve still been doing something wrong. Behind close doors, that would’ve been the reason for me not to achieve a promotion. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but doing the work on the back end is the difference between advancement vs. stagnation. You want to put your best foot forward, and you need to know if anything is preventing that from occurring.

Let’s get the discussion going. Let me know in the comment section below what your thoughts are. What steps will you take, or what steps have you taken to make improvements?

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New Year, New Changes

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Happy 2020 and I hope things are going well so far. It’s been a busy few weeks for me since the year started. There were a few things I wanted to work on to improve my self-confidence. I’m going to start Invisalign in a few weeks. I’m having issues with my bite, and I’m obsessed with having straight teeth. Now that my wisdom teeth are gone, it’s time for the process of my year and half of treatment to begin. However, I’m excited to see the results and have confidence in my smile back. I feel self-conscious about the facial hair on my face. I always wondered if that was the first thing that people noticed about me. Maybe not, but I feel like people are judging me based on my face. Laser hair removal is very pricey; however, I’m hoping my insurance covers the cost. In my case, this isn’t cosmetic as my mom has the same issue (good old genetics). I’m currently waiting for the Dr. office to get back to me on what the insurance will cover. If not, I’ll have to pay out of pocket. It’s not ideal, but this is something I’ve wanted for a while. It’s going to happen either way, but hopefully, insurance will cover the cost.

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Having acne is something I’ve dealt with for a large portion of my life. I want to clear up my face, and I believe my issues are hormonal. I’m currently working on changing my eating habits and drinking more water. However, I think there’s more to it in my situation. I went to a dermatologist a few weeks ago. I’m on a regimen where I have a cream at night and a gel in the morning. I use the products after I complete my regular skincare routine. I honestly see results so far. I go back in March to check my progress and see if my current prescription needs to change. So far, so good, so I’m praying everything continues to move forward positively. Due to my sensitive skin and eczema issues, it was essential to see a Dr. I struggled in the past with finding the right products to use. The products would irritate my skin or cause my eczema to flare up. Since my Dr. is aware of my issues, I’ve been prescribed products that didn’t cause the above concerns. Once my face is precise, I’ll do a before and after to show the results. Hopefully, it can inspire that clear skin is possible if you struggled with this your whole life. Going to the Dr. is okay, but you have to be disciplined and stick to your treatment plan if you want to see the desired results.

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If there are things that you want to fix that you may feel is holding you back, then change it. With this new year, there’s no point in continuing to be unhappy. Take baby steps, but if the change has financial impacts, there is a possibility that all the changes can’t occur at once. Pace yourself and do things in a comfortable and achievable manner. Most items are challenging to do because we talk ourselves out of it. Mental toughness is a real issue that we don’t discuss often. If we allow too many outside influences, it can hurt our internal speech. Sometimes it’s best not say anything until it’s complete. Not everyone will be happy, and they could even talk you out of making the necessary changes. Stick to your guns and don’t let the doubt of others block your blessings. Your dreams/goals that you want to achieve is on the other side of your comfort zone. Go out there and live your life NOW! If something is bothering you, get it fixed ASAP. Improving your self-confidence is a fantastic feeling and anything that impacts that is an obstacle to remove.

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How do you plan on making new strides in this new year? Are there things that you want to improve on or new goals for this year? In what ways will you implement these changes?

Protect Your Energy

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Being an empath can be incredibly exhausting. I feel other people’s energy, and if the vibe isn’t right, it throws me completely off. I have been meticulous lately about who I let in my life. I don’t want to be in a situation where my energy is draining, or I feel uncomfortable around someone. I never want to make people feel uncomfortable, even if that’s my current emotion. Fast forward to recently; I started to date again. I know the dreaded dating scene. However, I’m going into it with a fresh perspective. I have a clear mindset of what I’m looking for in a mate. Previously I said I was looking for XYZ, but my potential suitors didn’t fit that match. That was my fault and not theirs.

I have an issue with saying no to people. My biggest fear is making someone feel like I don’t care for them or for them to feel useless. When it comes at the expense of your sanity, it’s hardly worth the effort. Saying no isn’t selfish, but saying yes to everything is. Think about it for a second. If you answer yes, even when you aren’t in the mood or not feeling the environment, who is hurt by this? Anything that directly impacts your mental health is not worth the effort.

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You aren’t meant to be everyone’s cup of tea and vice versa. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. You can meet someone and instantly develop a connection, and for other people, it doesn’t exist at all. That doesn’t mean that something is wrong. All it means is that the two of you didn’t hit it off. Why force something that’s not working? I have never understood that way of thinking. Protect your energy and peace. If someone doesn’t understand this, then that person shouldn’t be in your life. The worst thing to be is misunderstood, and having someone not trying to understand you is even worst.

It’s a better use of time to spend it with like-minded people or people who have your best interest. Time and energy are very sacred pieces of yourself. Share life’s experiences with people who want to understand and have a place in your heart. Don’t hold onto temporary people as you will end up hurting yourself in the end.

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What are some ways that you practice protecting your energy/peace?

One Day Mad Rule

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I recently instituted a new rule in my life called the one-day mad rule. That means that I allow myself only one day to be upset. I have that whole day to work through whatever issues I’m having. Once I wake up the next day, it’s old news. I can no longer be upset about what happened yesterday. I have to exercise, hike, or anything to get my mind off what’s bothering me. The main objective is not to carry that anger with me through the next day. I’m telling you since I forced myself to adapt to this rule it’s been a complete game-changer. I had to get used to the idea, so it was a huge struggle at first. I’ve been following this for a month, and it increased my mood drastically. I’m in a much happier place, and most importantly I stopped getting on my nerves. Yes, that’s an authentic thing!

When you learn how to manage your emotions, it makes you a more pleasant person. People want to be around you more, and you overall give out positive vibes/energy. Plus, life is too short so what’s the point of holding onto all that negative energy? If you’re upset with someone forgive them and let it go. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to allow that person to stay in your life. It just means you won’t let that person remain rent-free in your head. When you’re holding all that toxic energy, you’re the one impacted. Whoever hurt you most likely doesn’t know nor care. There’s no point in wasting precious time on things that aren’t aiding your mental health. The one-day mad rule will take getting used to, but the benefits are worthwhile.

Start small and commit yourself to make a change. Once you decide that you will make this change, it becomes easier. Also, when I see myself getting frustrated, that’s when I take a break. I go for a walk, listen to music, etc. Anything to get my mind off the anger. Putting yourself in a different mindset helps you to make decisions from a logical standpoint instead of emotions. That will keep you from having to apologize often due to hurt feelings. That’s the difference between adults and children. Adults learn when to speak, apply their emotions, and when to keep quiet. If you haven’t mastered this art it takes time and practice to perfect it. However, I committed to change my behavior. I’m going to fall short, but I’m going to keep at it until it becomes second nature. My one-day mad rule is here to stay!

What are some ways that you learned how to handle and manage your emotions?

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