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Knowing and not overstepping your limits – Part II

What do you know of your own limits in terms of your mental, emotional and physical energy? And – following on from last week’s discussion – how aware of you of your own triggers that point to when you are overstepping those limits?

I enjoyed a walk around a local reservoir recently in stunning autumn sunshine.

What limits prevent you being completely drained?

What limits prevent you being completely drained?

I like the analogy of a reservoir. I start the week with fairly good amounts of energy. Some of that drains out as the week progresses with work, family commitments, friends in need, mundane life stuff. But if there are no walls or barriers stopping all the energy draining away, by the end of the week I can find myself completely empty.

Knowing yourself is key here, as ever. I love my work, and recognise that it involves giving a lot out to people. I also love exercise, being outside, music, efficiency and order. So if my week is chock full of people, the house is in a mess, I have had no exercise nor been outside much, and haven’t touched the piano, that raises a red flag that I am potentially heading towards exploding with someone. They suffer, I am horrible, everyone is miserable.

In contrast, two things help.

Firstly, creating boundaries on my time and energy by saying ‘no’ to things that stretch me too far and risk totally emptying me. Learning to say ‘no’ to things I might like to do or that I ‘ought’ to do because I understand and protect my limits.

Secondly, topping up my energy – filling up the reservoir. This means planning in things that, for me, as energy gainers. Ensuring that I stop work and get outside for a walk. Planning in a meeting with a friend who restores and refreshes my soul. Switching off the computer and sitting at the piano instead. Small things, but a big cumulative benefit of me being able to function at my best in all my roles.

Each of us will have our own idea of what drains and tops up our energy. It comes back to how well we know ourselves, our own limits, and our own triggers.

This isn’t about being a selfish island. This is about understanding and valuing yourself so you can be the best version of yourself to those around you. Communication is crucial here – what do those around you expect of you? Do they know your limits, and do you know theirs? This is where we will go next week.

For now, what are your limits, and how are you protecting them so you are not overstretched?

Inspired? Encouraged? Get in touch!

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